Drawing

A maize plant

ca. 1825 (painted)

Unknown

Height: 50 cm, Width: 67.5 cm

IS.16-1963 SSEA

Drawing; watercolour, a maize plant, one of seven drawings made for Lieutenant-Colonel Gilbert, Calcutta, ca. 1825

A watercolour of a maize plant with details of leaf, flower and cob.

The pictures made by Indian artists for the British in India are called Company paintings. Lieutenant-Colonel Gilbert, later Lieutenant-General Sir Walter Raleigh Gilbert, first Baronet, GCB, commissioned this one. He went to India with the 15th Native Infantry in 1801. At the time this painting was made, he was Commandant of the Ramgarh Battalion based at Hazaribagh (Bihar) from 1822 to 1828. Gilbert belonged to a circle that was intensely interested in painting. Sir Charles D'Oyly, the skilled amateur artist and later patron of Indian artists in Patna, was married to his sister-in-law. Gilbert and his wife owned a number of standard sets of Company paintings. They also made a collection documenting their life in Hazaribagh and Sambhalpur, of which this is an example. The artist was perhaps of Murshidabad ancestry. Gilbert may have paid him a private retainer fee. However, it is more likely that he was a survey draughtsman in Company employment. He probably accompanied Gilbert officially on his various assignments and executed private commissions from time to time.

Location: In Storage

View this object on the V&A website