Tigers have always held a fascination for the British in India with tiger-hunting being one of the favourite pastimes of wealthy Anglo-Indian society, nawabs and maharajas. The hunt was frequently conducted from the back of an elephant which afforded some measure of protection. A shikar or shoot, remained one of the few occasions when the rulers and the ruled mixed freely. Tiger hunts could be grand affairs laid on by maharajas for visiting British dignitaries and at other times they were expeditions carried out at the demand of villagers who were losing their cattle.
By the early 19th Century, hunting in India was so popular that it led to a demand for artists to depict this subject matter and to the publication of a series of prints including Captain Thomas Williamson's famous Oriental Field Sports illustrated by Samuel Howitt.
See lot 80 for a pair of watercolours of Tiger hunting.