The great houses of Bengal's merchant princes have been largely forgotten and rarely photographed. Many of the interiors have remained the same for over 200 years. While much has been written and photographed on the British colonial architecture and lifestyle, very little has been done on the Indian equivalent. The great families experienced enormous changes in fortune over the centuries, from great wealth and power during colonial times to dramatic economic and social upheaval after Independence. For the remaining occupants, their ancestral homes are bitter-sweet symbols of family pride, impossible to restore, or sometimes even to maintain. By focusing on Calcutta's heritage mansions and palaces, The Forgotten Palaces of Calcutta makes an important contribution to the architectural history of both Calcutta and India.