Born as Angelina Yeoward in 1873 in Azamgarh, Gauhar Jaan, was one of the greatest stars of the British Raj. One of the best exponents of classical Hindustani music, Gauhar Jaan, like most other classical musicians before her, sang for kings and queens. Patronized by the grand princes and zamindars of the day she achieved an unparalleled fame as a singer and dancer.
What made her stand apart however, was the way she transcended the traditional elite milieu and became a modern celebrity akin to the stars of our times. This was enabled by the developments of the Victorian era. While photography allowed her image to reach a wider, more popular audience, it was the later recording technologies that disseminated her voice. Above all it was the thriving culture of commodity advertising that made her a name and an image recognized throughout the subcontinent. Her face and name featured on calendars, cigarette cards, matchboxes and much else.
Here are some images of her’s on cigarette cards and matchbox labels.
Matchbox Labels featuring Gauhar Jaan printed in Austria and Czechoslovakia.