India Documented in Watercolors (1850-1870)

Enticed by the exotic culture and stunning landscapes of India many British artists travelled the country and recorded their experiences via artworks, most popular being the water-colorist William Carpenter. He travelled extensively for seven years (1850-57) and managed to capture the Indian culture and landscapes in the most accurate and realistic manner.  It’s because of the authenticity and well-observed preciseness of his artworks that his wide collection of 200+ watercolors is considered a valuable source of information for documentation purposes.

Shown below are some of the most incredible watercolors made by W. Carpenter.

Interior of the Neminath temple, Dilwara, Mount Abu- 1851

Two Kashmiri Girls- 1854

The Golden Temple at Amritsar- 1854

Street scene in the bazaar in Udaipur, Rajasthan- 1851

Portrait of Tara Chand, the court painter of Udaipur- 1851

A Singwali or woman of a wandering gypsy tribe- 1855

Mar Canal at Srinagar, Kashmir- 1855

There were many other artists commissioned by the East India Company, the main propose was to give the British community back home, a pictorial peek into the ethnic culture and the amazing flora & fauna of India. William Simpson, also a watercolorist has a comprehensive set of artworks to his credit. Originally a war artist, he was sent to India to sketch historic events following the ‘Revolt of 1857’ (Sepoy war) however he was so enamored by the diverse Indian customs, notable monuments and festivities, he ended up painting more of local scenes and landscapes. His plan was to produce an illustrated publication of his artworks made in India which unfortunately never materialized.

Ellora- 1862

Panchganga Ghat from the Ganges, Benares, Varanasi- 1860

Ghats on the bank of the River Jumna, Mathura (U.P) 1865

Indian School of Calcutta:- Students seated on mats around their master, working on slates- 1859

Nandi bull in a courtyard of a temple in Benares. – 1864

Akal Bunga (‘timeless house’) in the Sikhs’ Golden Temple at Amritsar- 1864

Water wheel being turned by two bullocks, Amritsar- 1864

Taj Mahal, the monument as seen from the garden, with Europeans and malis (gardeners) in the foreground and flowerpots- 1864

Gateway of the Buddhist shrine- Sanchi Stupa- 1865