www.IndianMiniaturePaintings.co.uk - On the banks of the Ganges carpenters saw large planks, probably for use in shipbuilding, European and native boats sail in view. Anglo-Indian (or 'Company School') at Patna. Transparent watercolour with gold on English (C Wilmott) watermarked paper. Mount 31.1 x 28.9 cm; image 19.7 x 18cm


The description in English of the painting on this webage is the definitive description. Any translation using Google translate is a guide only - its accuracy cannot be guaranteed and it is used at your own risk.

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On the banks of the Ganges a bhistie (water carrier) with mashak (small water-bag) and ox bearing a pukhal (large water-bag), on the river native boats sail in view. Anglo-Indian (or 'Company School') at Patna, circa 1800-05. Opaque watercolour with gold on English (C Wilmott, Kent) watermarked paper. Mount 31.1 x 28.9 cm; image 19.7 x 18cm

One of the first artists to produce paintings in the Anglo-Indian/Company School style of Patna was Sewak Ram who migrated there from Murshidabad in around 1790. This painting's river scene with its sailing boats and landscape beyond are elements directly transposed from the Murshidabad tradition of the mid-18th century to Patna in the 19th. Some of his Sewak Ram's works particularly those depicting festivals were arguably of the highest quality ever produced in the Anglicised 'Patna Company School' style. He was also commissioned to paint sets of occupations which albeit less accomplished were of a very high standard. Amongst them is a toddy tapper (now in the V&A) circa 1805 on paper watermarked 1801. A feature distinguishing his early work from later - such as the set of thirty-five depicting trades and occupations circa 1826 also on C Wilmott watermarked paper and originally purchased by Lord Amhurst Governor-General of India and his wife* - are the former's use of more naturalistic shadow contrasting with the latter's use of the stylised inverted-V shadow which by then had become a cliche of the Patna and other Anglo-Indian schools.

*Company Paintings: Indian Paintings of the British Period. Mildred Archer, 1992, pp. 84-88; http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O68299/a-toddy-tapper-painting-sewak-ram/.

The painted sheet of paper is attached only by its edges - allowing relatively easy removal without damage - onto card with a large cut aperture allowing the back to be viewed and the whole to be held to a light source so as to see the watermark (see images below).

Ref: 000924b


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Above: against light source to show watermark

Beneath the gold-ruled mount the painted the paper sheet is laid by its edges only onto another sheet with aperture to view the reverse, as below

Reverse including showing paper laid onto inner mount edges of aperture

Images and text © Peter Blohm