Although Howitt never visited India himself, the tigers in the present watercolour are closely and carefully observed and it has been suggested that Howitt may have gone down to the East India Docks to sketch the animals as they were off-loaded from the Orient. These recumbant tigers are in contrast to the ferocious animals that appear in the aquatints for Oriental Field Sports. It is known that Howitt prepared at least forty-four watercolours from Williamson's sketches for Oriental Field Sports, which contains forty aquatints and in addition two title vignettes. The present watercolour relates closely to another signed watercolour by Howitt in the Ehrenfeld collection (see J.K. Bautze 'Elephants, Tigers and Other Animals', Indian and Western Painting 1780-1910, Virginia, 1998, p. 336-7. no. 92, illustrated), which may be either one of the watercolours not selected for publication or a study for a title vignette.
Another smaller watercolour of mountain tigers was sold Christie's London, 5 June 1996, lot 86 (£4370). For a note on the artist see lot 242.