Here are nice examples of old Indian postcards; a young woman in a traditional saree in both black-and-white and tinted versions. The original image was vignetted and retains most of the detail of the studio print. The second has been coloured with greater skill and attention than was usual. The pallu and borders were done with as much of the woven patterning visible as possible, though the main cloth has lost it texture under the soft red. I don’t believe the actual saree was a dark red, or it would not have shown so well in the b/w view, but could have been a lighter pinkish red.
The model’s face and expression are prettier on the left, but she has not been muddied beyond recognition on the tinted postcard. The greenery below the bench is a good touch, bringing out the reds of the fabric, and the subtle blue-grey of the choli sleeve offers a contrast to the girl’s brown skin tones, echoed here and there in the painted backdrop. I know nothing about Clifton & Co., Bombay, but someone there made an effort to translate the original photograph into two pleasing end results. And I wonder if the lady was compensated for her time in front of the studio camera some 110 years ago? Did she pose for any other commercial jobs, or was the photograph made as a personal portrait that was later co-opted to sell to the public?