• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7615

    Art of The Islamic And Indian Worlds

    7 October 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 274

    Calcutta School, circa 1830

    A procession of elephants and a European figure in a palanquin approaching a country house

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Calcutta School, circa 1830
    A procession of elephants and a European figure in a palanquin approaching a country house
    pencil and watercolour on paper laid down on linen
    12¼ x 19¾ in. (31.1 x 50.2 cm.)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Scenes showing the country houses of British officials and gentlemen in India had been a common subject since the 18th Century (see examples from circa 1770 in S. Cary Welch, Room for Wonder: Indian Painting during the British Period 1760-1880, pp. 30-31). The elegant depiction of a country house was often, as in the present watercolour, embellished with the figure of the owner who, travelling by palanquin and accompanied by a train of servants, further demonstrated his wealth and status.

    This drawing has been previously published as the work of a Calcutta School artist in the employ of Colonel Gilbert (Eyre and Hobhouse, op. cit., no. 42). Walter Raleigh Gilbert arrived in India in 1801 with the 15th Native Infantry and spent some time in Calcutta before moving to headquarters at Hazaribagh from 1822-1828. His interest in Indian art may have been responsible for his friendship with Sir Charles D'Oyly, whose sister-in-law, Isabella Ross, Gilbert married in 1814. The Gilberts commissioned a large number of works from Calcutta School artists, including a set which showed scenes of their life in India (e.g. M. Archer, Company Painting: Indian Paintings of the British Period, London, 1992, no. 74). However, while similar in style and subject, the present drawing shows a more confident and successful use of perspective than that in known works from the Gilbert collection in the India Office Library and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

    We are grateful to Jerry Losty for his help in preparing this catalogue entry.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Exhibited

    London, Eyre and Hobhouse, Company painting: a century of Indian art for European patrons, June 1982, no. 42.