Thursday, June 26, 2014

A History Lesson and An Heirloom

 I am a a history buff and I can research facts and figures quite happily for long periods of time :). My interest of course deepens when it involves researching the history of something that I own. My mother gave me these miniatures during my last trip to India. They were given to her by my paternal Grandparents. While I find them pretty, I simply had to know more :) While I was in India, we set about getting the old frame repaired and changed the fabric of the frame to a rich burgundy.  Now it sits pretty in my home back here in the States :)

A few days of online research led me to some amazing information. Its quite fascinating.........

" As the British East India Company expanded its purview in South Asia during the late 1700s, great numbers of its employees moved from England to carve out new lives for themselves in India. As they traveled through the country and encountered unusual flora and fauna, stunning ancient monuments, and exotic new people, they wanted to capture these images to send or take home. Whereas the modern tourist would rely on his camera for such a task, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century travelers had to hire Indian painters to do the job. The works produced by these artists, undertaken in a European style and palette, are known collectively as "Company" paintings. They are characterized in medium by the use of watercolors (instead of gouache), and in technique by the appearance of linear perspective and shading."

"This style of painting arose in a number of different cities. Delhi's market expanded after the city's occupation by the British in 1803. Its magnificent Mughal monuments were the most popular subjects, and its artists were unique in using ivory as a base for painting" 

Source : The Metropolitan Museum of Art New York. Published by Marika Sardar
Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.



Company School, 19th century, East India Company


My oval frame has nine such miniatures! The work is intricate and absolutely beautiful! 



My research also led me to various auction houses. I manged to find  a very similar piece at Bonhams, a prominent privately owned auction house based in UK. 

There is a lot more information available online. However, for now, I have the information I need! I am delighted to have traced the origins of these miniatures :)

So are there any history buffs out there?  Do share your stories with me!


Images: My Dream Canvas

Joining the party at French Country Cottage For Feathered Nest Friday!


1 comment:

Vidhya V Rao said...

wow, what a pretty miniature and they are intact W.R.T colors (Vibrancy)....It's a nifty idea to add that deep burgundy color background to bring out the vivid colors on the miniature and also add some depth to it. I am sure this heirlooms piece (and other pieces) is happy to be in good hands.

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