A highly accomplished pair of botanical watercolours.
Company School painting is a broad term for a variety of hybrid styles that developed as a result of European (especially British) influence on Indian artists in the late 18th and 19th centuries. It evolved as a way of providing paintings that would appeal to European patrons who found the purely indigenous styles not to their taste. As many of these patrons worked for the various East India companies, the painting style came to be associated with the name, although it was in fact also used for paintings produced for local rulers and other Indian patrons.
The subject matter of company paintings made for western patrons was often documentary rather than imaginative, and as a consequence, the Indian artists were required to adopt a more naturalistic approach to painting than their more traditional style.
Calcutta was among the most important early production centres, as the site of one of the oldest British trading houses. The city’s most enthusiastic patrons were Lord Impey, chief justice of the High Court from 1777 to 1783, and the Marquess Wellesley, who served as governor-general from 1798 to 1805. Both had collected large menageries and hired artists to paint each of the birds and animals in them. A Company-established botanical garden in Calcutta then undertook a similar project for the samples of plant life it had collected. The present watercolours come from this interest.
A pair of watercolours on wove paper watermarked 1810, each image showing fruit on a branch and cross-section of fruit, framed and glazed, each c.53 x 60 cm. (22 7/8 x 23 5/8 in) overall.
Stock ID: 94999