Group portrait of Sir Sayaji Rao, the young Gaekwar of Baroda (seated, front centre), Sir Richard Temple, Governor of Bombay and officials from the 'Album of portraits and views in Baroda' taken by an unknown photographer in c.1880. Also in the portrait Sir Madhav T Rao, British appointed administrator of Baroda and Phillip S. Melville, Agent to the Governor General. The state of Baroda (Vadodara) in Gujarat, western India was ruled by the Gaekwads from 1734 till Indian Independence. In 1802 a treaty was concluded between the Gaekwar and East India Company by which a British Resident was appointed to the court and a provision was made for the maintenance of a British military force in the state.
The rule of Sayaji Rao (r.1875-1939) was characterised by unprecedented progress and reform. He initiated a number of social reforms and paid great attention to the economic development of the state. He founded modern textile and tile factories and it is largely due to his policies that Vadodara is today one of the most important centres for the textile, chemical and oil industries in India. In order to develop education he introduced compulsory primary schooling, a library system for adult education and founded the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Vadodara.