The present watercolour depicts elephants emerging from a kraal, also known as a crush. This wooden enclosed pen is used in the taming or domestication of young elephants. The young elephants are deprived of food and sleep and charmed by hypnotic singing and after a week or even a month, depending on the temperament of the animal, the calf is taught to carry a rider.
The present watercolour may have been executed by a member of the Hodson family. William Stephen Raikes Hodson (1821-1858) was a military commander who entered the East India Company's services in 1845. He married Susan, widow of John Mitford in 1852 and enjoyed a successful career until his death in action in Lucknow.