This watercolour is part of a collection of 25 illustrations for the burlesque poem 'Tom Raw, the griffin'. This particular scene depicts canto 7, verses 15-24. The poem is comprised of 12 cantos describing the adventures of a cadet in the East India Company's service, starting at the time of his departure from England and finishing at the time he obtains his first permanent staff position in India.
Originally taught by the artist George Chinnery (1774-1852), Sir Charles D'Oyly was one of the most prolific and popular artists to portray the life and landscapes of India. D'Oyly published many books of engravings and lithographs from his drawings and his work was greatly admired by the European community in Bengal. When the river-boats moored for the night at Patna, on the southern bank of the Ganges, many Europeans would disembark, visit him and see his drawings. D'Oyly made a considerable influence on Indian painters in Patna who under his guidance accommodated the demands and tastes of the European market.
See lot 318 for a work by Chinnery.