Sir Thomas Theophilius Metcalfe, 4th.Bart. (Jan.2.1795-Nov.3.1853, compilor & author)
Mazar Ali KHAN (fl.1840-1870) and others (artists). An illustrated manuscript album, titled 'Reminiscences of Imperial Dehlie [sic.]', written and compiled in Delhi in 1844, 4° (250 x 200mm). 102 leaves, extensively illustrated with 126 mounted Delhi- or Agra-school watercolours by Mzar Ali Khan and others (most circa 80 x 127mm., but including a portrait of the Great Moghul, Hahadur Shah, last Emperor of Delhi, 185 x 140mm, and an incomplete folding panorama of a royal procession, 105 x 2258mm, 12 other drawings (including 5 pencil vignettes by David Thompson), with descriptive text by Metcalfe, and occasional notes by his daughter Lady Emily Clive Bayley. Original purple morocco, titled in gilt 'Reminiscences of Imperial Dehlie.[sic.]' on upper cover, gilt edges, modern half-morocco box
Provenance: Sir Thomas Theophilius Metcalfe (compilor, inscription on 'title' page 'For my very Dear Girls From their affectionate Father Dehlee 25th Nov 1844 The last I shall see of my Dear Child Charley.'); Emily Annie Theophila Bayley (inscription by Sir Thomas 'Emily Annie Theophila Bayley. Her Father's Gift.', manuscript notes by Emily, by descent to:); Constance Clive Bayley (gift to her great nephew:); John Mildmay Ricketts (sale: Christies 4 July 1985 lot 156).
A HIGHLY IMPORTANT ALBUM, COMPILED BY THE BRITISH RESIDENT AT THE MUGHAL COURT FOR HIS DAUGHTERS IN ENGLAND. WITH HISTORICAL NOTES AND CONTEMPORARY OBSERVATIONS OF PEOPLE AND PLACES, ALL MADE FROM THE UNIQUE VIEW-POINT OF PROBABLY THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN DELHI AT THE TIME. Sir Thomas Theophilius Metcalfe followed his father into the Indian service and in 1813 sailed for India. With occasional breaks for home leave he was to spend much of his life in or near the Mughal capital, and brought land on the banks of the Jumna - an estate of one thousand acres, where he built Metcalfe House, surrounding it with trees, artificial lakes and beautiful gardens (the layout of the house is described and pictured in the present album, see leaves 87 and 88). In 1846 he succeeded his brother Lord Charles Metcalfe (1785-1846) to the position of British Resident and Agent to the Governor-General at the Mughal Court in Delhi, but died almost certainly from poisoning in 1853.
The album was compiled by Sir Thomas at Metcalfe House, probably in the period following his second wife Felicity's death in 1842, and was completed by the end of 1844 in time for it to be sent back to Britain with Metcalfe's youngest son Charles. His daughters and eldest son were already in Britain, the daughters having left India in 1836. 'The putting-together of his reminiscences would have been possible only during a sustained period of peace and quiet throughout the territories which he administered as Resident; and his position... together with a detailed knowledge of the people of the city and its surroundings gained over many years, rendered him the ideal person to set about such a work. To him it was a labour of love, to be pursued unhurriedly during spells of leisure; and he set himself the task not just owing to love of his family, to whom he wished to leave a souvenir, but because he loved Delhi greatly'. (J.M.Ricketts writing in M.M.Kaye,ed. The Golden Calm... Reminiscences by Emily, Lady Clive Bayley, and by her father, Sir Thomas Metcalfe, Exeter, 1980, p.7). At the time, it would have been usual for the eldest daughter of a widower to keep house for him, and the depth and range of the information given by Sir Thomas in the album, together with the wide range of subjects covered by the illustrations, suggest that he saw the album as a way of preparing his children (or at least his eldest daughter) for her return to India. It was to be six years until Emily re-joined her father: she arrived in Delhi, aged 17, in January 1848 (apparently bringing the album with her). Two years later, on 6 March 1850, she married Sir Edward Clive Bayley, then Under-Secretary to the Foreign Department, in St.James's Church, Delhi: at some time after this the album was inscribed again by her father and this time presented to her alone.
Metcalfe House was almost completely destroyed during and following the mutiny in 1857, as were many other buildings and monuments pictured and described here. The album therefore forms a highly important record of the architecture of the area. 'The illustrations in this book were executed by native Company artists working to Sir Thomas' commission. It is of course impossible to identify most of the artists today... many of the pictures are unsigned. Those that are signed are the work of one Mazhar Ali Khan, and there are stylistic reasons for thinking that he painted several others' (Ricketts, op.cit p.12). In addition to the description of the physical appearance of the city, Sir Thomas gives an account of the life and politics of the period from the perspective of one who was intimately involved at the highest level in the shaping of events.
M.M.Kaye (editor). The Golden Calm... Exeter: Webb & Bower, 1980. (reproducing 113 pages from the album as illustrations to accompany text by Emily, Lady Clive Bayley, and with notes by M.M.Kaye).