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EXTRACTS FROM THE BOOK “INDIAN LIFE AND LANDSCAPES BY WESTERN ARTISTS”

Chapter Seven: A Romantic Response

Robert Melville Grindlay (1786-1877)
In varying degrees, the exquisite illustrations in Grindlay’s Scenery, Costumes and Architecture, chiefly on the Western side of India epitomize romantic India. Containing thirty-six aquatints, the work was published in London between 1826 and 1830 in six parts, the first two by Rudolph Ackermann and the remaining four by Smith, Elder & Co. The aquatints were printed in a range of coloured inks with only touches of colour added by hand. Although many of the original sketches were by Grindlay himself, an unprecedented total of twenty-five other artists were also involved in the project. In his introduction, Grindlay noted that ‘for some of the subjects he is indebted to the kindness of his friends, whose names are acknowledged on the respective plates.’ His friends included William Daniell, who worked up Grindlay’s sketch for ‘Morning view from Calliann [Kalyan] near Bombay’, and ‘Dowlatabad the ancient Deo Gurh’. William Westall (1781-1850), the professional topographical artist who had visited Bombay and the Western Ghats in 1804, while returning to England from Matthew Flinders’ expedition to Australia, was responsible for eight illustrations, including the Cave Temple of Elephanta in Bombay harbour. At the Royal Academy in 1827 and 1828, Westall exhibited nine paintings depicting views of Elephanta, the Bhor Ghat, Bombay and elsewhere, noting in the catalogue with reference to the ‘Work on Western India’, these were mostly from sketches by Captain Grindlay.

Even Grindlay’s title page, depicting a graceful Indian maiden, sets the exotic tone of the entire volume. The coloured stipple engraving, in the form of a vignette, derives from an original sketch by Grindlay made in 1805. This is confirmed by the oil painting of the same subject (probably painted about 1826), inscribed: A Hindoo Female of the Deccan & Concane [Konkan] sketched in 1805 from the daughter of Gungadur Shastree … R.M. Grindlay Vinette [sic] of Scenery Costumes & Architecture of Western India.

Grindlay also made use of original sketches by the Bombay Engineer John Johnson, and Charles Auber of the Quartermaster General’s department in Ceylon. Their original images probably contained little that could be termed romantic. But in the hands of William Daniell, William Westall, Clarkson Stanfield, David Roberts and others, who worked up the originals for the engravers, a transformation clearly took place. Under Grindlay’s close supervision, romantic impressions created by atmospheric effects, soft mists and golden sunlight, groups of exotic figures in vivid Oriental costume, and carefully selected landscape or architectural settings, abound in these delicately coloured aquatints. His most dramatic and powerfully romantic image is that of ‘The Great Excavated Temple at Ellora’ based on his own drawing made in 1813 (fig. 9b).

The Great Excavated Temple at Ellora 1826
Fig. 9b. ROBERT MELVILLE GRINDLAY
The Great Excavated Temple at Ellora 1826
CSMVS Collection, Mumbai

Grindlay’s book is also symptomatic of other contemporary trends in landscape art. Since the early days of the picturesque tour, for example, to the mountains and lakes of England, Scotland and Wales, a number of like-minded watercolour artists had created a special school of landscape painting. It came about partly as a result of a deepening appreciation of the British countryside and the heightened awareness of specific locations as worthy pictorial subjects. This concept had its roots in Dutch landscape and genre painting, which adhered strongly to specific topographical and domestic environments. British artists, John Robert Cozens (1752-97), Thomas Girtin (1775-1802), and John Sell Cotman (1782-1842) were leading pioneers of this School. Their firm belief that watercolour, gouache and body colour were suitable media for finished works of art was a key factor in its development. From the latter eighteenth-century onwards, these artists and their followers were painting highly evocative watercolours of the British Isles that captured the atmosphere, mood, sentiment, and often the romantic nostalgia of the subject. In the process, scenes of India were added to the repertoire of many artists who never visited the subcontinent. An increasing number of professionals would work up images, especially by amateur artists who had drawn and sketched on the spot in India. They included Copley Fielding, Henry Warren, Thomas Allom, and even J.M.W. Turner who, especially in his early days, prepared finished works from sketches by amateurs. By taking advantage of the market, and in conjunction with the printing and publishing establishments, these artists often supplemented their income. As a result, published volumes containing Indian scenery proliferated.

By 1834, Grindlay’s agency house in the city of London was well established and his services in the business field were much sought after. About this time he assisted Samuldas Desai, a landowner from Neriad in Gujarat (whose family he had known in 1805), who arrived in London with a petition to the Company at East India House. Grindlay also collaborated with Charles Landseer, who painted Desai standing in an Indian landscape, probably holding the petition in his right hand.


William Carpenter (1818-99) and Percy Carpenter (1820-95)
Two members of the artistic Carpenter family travelled widely in India and in the Far East. William Carpenter spent several years in northern India between 1850 and 1857, while his younger brother, Percy, visited Singapore, Ceylon and Calcutta, between about 1855 and 1860, having travelled via the Far East. Whether or not they met in India remains unclear. William left, probably from Bombay and almost certainly before the uprising in May 1857, while Percy arrived in Calcutta once these troubles had subsided.

Their mother was the professional portrait painter, Margaret Sarah Carpenter. She also painted genre scenes and exhibited at the Royal Academy. William Hookham Carpenter, their father (son of a Bond Street bookseller), became Keeper of the Prints and Drawings Department at the British Museum in 1845. Percy entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1838 and began exhibiting in 1841. In 1858, he exhibited a panoramic oil painting of Singapore as viewed from Mount Wallich, which was lithographed by Vincent Brooks and published in London the same year. By early 1859, Percy had reached Calcutta, where field sports became his speciality.

In early 1860, the Bengal Tent Club commissioned Percy to make drawings of a pig-sticking event to be held in March that year. Its members suggested that the drawings should be published, and accordingly prepared a subscription list. Eight of Percy’s pictures were lithographed by Edmund Walker and published by Day and Son in London as Hog Hunting in Lower Bengal. In the introduction, Percy reported that the meet, ‘this most spirit-stirring and exciting of all sports’, had been held on the ‘Sowerra Burrea Plains, near Tamluk’, about fifty miles southeast of Calcutta, and that thirty-seven hogs were killed during the three-day hunt. One scene portrayed twelve members of the Tent Club plus their guests relaxing in the open air, taking refreshments. By the time the work was published in 1861, Percy had probably arrived back in London.

William Carpenter, the eldest son, was essentially a watercolour artist, though he painted in oils early in his career. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1835, where he exhibited portraits, literary and historical subjects before leaving for India. Exactly why William went is not known but Percy’s experiences may have encouraged him. It is possible that The Illustrated London News, which was publishing articles about India, commissioned him to record people and scenes in the country. Illustrations in colour and black and white from his Indian watercolours appeared in the journal between September 1857 and October 1859. Apart from the watercolours reproduced in The Illustrated London News, William’s work was seldom published in print form. Nor did he exhibit many Indian scenes publicly except for five pictures, four of which portrayed scenes in Kashmir, at the Royal Academy in 1857, 1858 and 1866. Among the mid-19th century professional artists who went to India, William Carpenter is relatively unknown. However, the V&A holds the largest and finest collection of his Indian watercolours, acquired as a result of the major, one-man exhibition held in the Indian Section of the South Kensington Museum in 1881. All but one of the entire collection comprising 275 watercolours (another was acquired in 1885) was displayed at the time. As the exhibition catalogue explained: ‘They [the pictures] will be found of great value and interest to visitors, not only as representing the scenery and architecture of the country, but also as illustrating the daily life of the native inhabitants, and the uses of many of the implements, vessels, personal decorations, &c, comprised in the collection of examples of the industrial arts of India.’ The exhibition would have created an illuminating array of pictorial images that paid tribute to Carpenter’s vision of India. They vividly captured the character of his sitters and the glowing effects of sunlight in the populous cityscapes, enhancing the architectural monuments to great effect. The extra picture was entitled ‘Tree Worship, Rajasthan’.

William Carpenter had set off for India by the overland route, seeing Egypt among many other places along the way, in early 1850. Within a few months, and certainly by June, he had reached Bombay. Since no journal of Carpenter’s travels is known, his extensive itineraries are best judged from dated watercolours, though they do not provide a complete outline of his seven years of travel. His first year was spent in Bombay and parts of western India. In June 1850, shortly after his arrival, he went to Poona, situated almost two thousand feet up in the Western Ghats, probably to escape from the heat and humidity of the monsoon season in Bombay and to explore the surrounding country. Scenes painted in Poona include vivid studies of the courtyard of an old Maratha Palace used as a school for Hindu children, the Gateway of Shanwar Palace (formerly belonging to the Peshwas) viewed from the main square, and the local Sadr bazaar with its colourful stalls attracting the local children. From Poona he also visited Mahabalshwar, the nearby hill fort of Partabgarh, Satara, and elsewhere, probably returning to Bombay in early December 1850.

In Bombay, Carpenter may have stayed with Sir William Yardley (1810-78), Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court. Carpenter’s interest in local life further manifested itself in a series of studies, including street scenes in the Indian areas, a young girl from Madras, religious mendicants at Breach Candy, and a Toddy-drawer and his family at their home near Breach Candy. A local excursion to the nearby Salsette islands during Christmas and the New Year of 1850-51 included visits to Mount Mary Church at Bandra (on Christmas day), the Kanheri Caves, a sail in a bunder boat up Thana Creek, then through Bassein Creek to the Portuguese ruins of Bassein itself, then back to Bombay via Ghorbandar and the Caves of Montpezier.

In February 1851, Carpenter almost certainly went to Ajanta, where he probably stayed with Robert Gill (1804-75), who had been living at the site since 1846, making a pictorial record of the caves and their paintings. Carpenter’s watercolours made at Ajanta include a view across the valley from Gill’s residence. From Ajanta Carpenter then made his way via Asirgarh and Mandhata, where he met Daulat Rao, to Indore. He visited the imposing palace at Maheshwar, former capital (until 1738) of the princely Maratha family of Holkar, overlooking the Narbada River. In March 1851, he also met the family, probably at their new capital, Indore, where he painted the Maharaja, Tukoji Rao Holkar (1833-86), who had been ruling since 1844, when he was a minor. Carpenter’s watercolour was reproduced as a black-and-white illustration in The Illustrated London News of 10 October 1857. Its accompanying account (giving a brief history of the Holkar family), notes that Carpenter’s original watercolour, depicting the eighteen-year-old prince seated with two attendants holding fly-whisks, was made in 1851 ‘at the time he came of age and was placed on the Gudhee [throne].’ Another watercolour exists, which shows the ‘Durbar at the Installation of Holkar, Indore’, a grand ceremony with guests and attendants, taking place under a canopy. Since this event almost certainly took place in 1852, Carpenter was probably invited back to Indore for the formalities when Maharaja Tukoji Rao Holkar attained his majority and the prince was finally entrusted with full responsibility for running the State of Indore.

Between the two visits to Indore, Carpenter went to Baroda, Ahmadabad, and Mount Abu, where he painted the celebrated Jain Dilwara temples and many other views of this celebrated pilgrimage place in Rajasthan. In Baroda, he met the Gaekwar, Ganpat Rao, and painted his portrait. Nor was there any lack of commissions for portraits of the people he met. They included princes, their families, especially the children, and retainers. Some he probably stayed within their palaces. While painting their portraits from life, Carpenter paid special attention to their dazzling costumes and glittering jewelry. He also painted many scenic views, frequently thronged with local people, whose dress invariably enhanced the spectacle that had caught his eye. By June 1851, he had reached Udaipur where he spent at the court of the Maharana Sarup Singh.

Tara Chand, court painter to Maharana Sarup Singh of Udaipur 1851
Fig. 25. WILLIAM CARPENTER
Tara Chand, court painter to Maharana Sarup Singh of Udaipur 1851
V&A: IS 139-1881

He also painted the court painter, Tara Chand with two of his children (fig. 25). The kingdoms of Rajasthan, notably the princes in their exotic regalia and imposing palaces spectacularly situated on hilltops or lakes-sides, captured his romantic vision. Carpenter often recorded the relaxed aspects of the princes’ lifestyle, sometimes with their children, while still conveying the nobility, grandeur, and above all their individual character. He thus provides glimpses of their family lives and, since he himself is known to have worn Indian dress he would have been warmly welcomed into their homes. The year 1852 saw Carpenter back in Indore for the installation of the young prince, Tukoji Rao Holkar, when he painted the Gateway of the Palace. In 1853, he visited both Delhi, where he painted the ‘Jami Masjid from the balcony of a house’, and Simla, painting ‘The Wood Bazaar’. Then the following year he was in Amritsar, where he painted the Golden Temple, both the exterior and the interior.


WILLIAM CARPENTER IN KASHMIR
The first of at least three annual trips to Kashmir was probably in 1853, when he may have stayed for many months. Surrounded by a continuous range of snowy peaks, the oval valley of Kashmir, the Dal Lake with its floating gardens of lotuses and lilies, and the delightful climate especially in early summer and autumn had attracted European travellers for several centuries. The Emperor Akbar conquered the country in 1588, and the Fort of Hari Parbat on an isolated hill west of the Dal Lake was built subsequently as a Mughal stronghold. It was Jahangir, however, who created the pleasure gardens, notably the Shalimar Bagh on the shore of the lake, where he regularly spent the summer months. Romantic concepts associated with the Vale of Kashmir developed, finding expression in literature. François Bernier, for example, was one of the earliest Europeans to visit and describe the region. One of the most popular and widely read poems of the nineteenth century was Thomas Moore’s Lalla Rookh, which had five editions within eight months of its first appearance in 1817. Based on various travellers’ tales and pictorial sources the poem focuses on Emperor Aurangzeb’s daughter, Lalla Rookh, and provides a generalized view of the Orient using exotic imagery and a mixture of Indian, Persian and Turkish elements. While travelling through Kashmir in 1838, Godfrey Thomas Vigne wrote approvingly: ‘At one glance we have before us the whole of the localities described in Lalla Rookh. I use the word described, for there is great justice in the ideas of scenery to be collected from the poem.’ As one of the early explorers in the region, Vigne was probably among the first observers to be captivated by Moore’s romantic vision of Kashmir. It was only after the annexation of the Punjab in 1846 that the area became more accessible to European travellers of the nineteenth century. That Carpenter had also read Lalla Rookh is obvious from the title to one of his watercolours, ‘The Shalimar garden; scene of the festivities at the marriage of Lalla Rookh, daughter of Aurunzebe’. Judging from the sequence of the Kashmir watercolours listed in Carpenter’s exhibition catalogue of 1881, these were almost certainly displayed as a group. Besides general views of the valley and lakes, Shah Hamadan’s Mosque, they included the quaint wooden houses and streets of Srinagar, bridges across the Jhelum River and Mar canal, Kashmiri women and nautch girls, and the Temple of the Sun at Martund, to which Carpenter made a special excursion. He also obviously met the Governor of Kashmir, Nawab Shaikh Imam-ud Din.

Between his annual summer visits to this idyllic region, Carpenter explored the plains of northern India. In 1855, he accompanied the Punjab Irregular Force to Afghanistan. He visited Delhi, Benares, Cawnpore and Lahore in 1856. While in Delhi in February, Carpenter painted this arresting portrait of Prince Fakr-ud Din Mirza, eldest son of the King of Delhi. Then while he was in Lahore in December that year, he painted a favourite subject – a crowded street scene - and a panoramic view of the city’s main mosque. At the same time in 1856, Carpenter probably became aware of increasing tensions among the military prior to the uprising the following year and decided to return home.

Carpenter returned home with numerous watercolours, depicting not only the princes and their families, but also a great range of personalities and places. Many convey the impression of almost snapshot images, captured in an instance with the versatility of an artist highly skilled in the watercolour technique. Carpenter’s personal vision may well have been influenced by the rapidly developing medium of photography. His eye was so perceptive that, with the touch of a paintbrush, he could capture the stance of a child, the mannerisms of a seated nobleman, the roguish character of a thug, or the powerful effects of sunlight on the Indian landscape. His graphic skills with the brush matched those of George Chinnery and like him, Carpenter selected the minute rather than the broad aspect of a scene, recording many details that the spectator otherwise might have missed. His penetrating vision, as revealed in these small-scale watercolours, evokes a gentle romanticism. Brilliantly executed in a range of sparkling colours that were dominantly warm, Carpenter captured vivid chromatic effects, comparable with George Chinnery’s graphic landscapes in pencil, pen and ink, and his delicately subtle tones in oil and watercolour.


William Simpson (1823-99)
William Simpson had none of the artistic advantages of his near contemporaries, William Carpenter, or George Landseer. Born in Glasgow in humble circumstances, Simpson (whose father worked steamboats on the Clyde) was largely self-taught and had to struggle financially. In 1840, he joined the Glasgow printing firm, Allan and Ferguson, where he specialized in lithography. He also attended the local School of Design, where he ‘carried off a prize for drawing from the round; I had made some progress in watercolour, and done a little in oil.’ In early 1851, the year of the Great Exhibition, Simpson arrived in London, and was immediately engaged by William Day of Day & Sons, ‘the principal lithographers in London, more particularly for artistic work.’ Of the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park, Simpson later recalled: ‘The summer of 1851, owing to the Exhibition, was a busy one for me. At that date the illustrated papers did not occupy the position they have since reached, and photography was still in its infancy, so there was a great demand for prints of such a new and wonderful place as the ‘World’s Fair’. Day and Son published great views, both of the outside and of the interior.’

In early 1859, William Day commissioned Simpson to go to India and record places associated with the events of 1857. Simpson had already established his reputation as war-artist of the Crimea. Sailing via the Cape, Simpson arrived in Calcutta at the end of October 1859. William Walker, a sailor who had visited Calcutta before and ‘was supposed to know something of the country’, accompanied him to collect subscribers for the project. In the process, he probably became involved with Percy Carpenter’s Hog Hunting in Lower Bengal, since it was his brother, Edmund Walker, in Day’s firm who lithographed these prints.

William Simpson spent over two years travelling across the Indian subcontinent by train, dak gharry, dhooly, or on horseback, keeping a diary wherever he went. Having toured with Lord and Lady Canning in 1860, he went deeper into the Himalayas returning to the plains before winter set in. In October, he went back to Delhi and continued to Agra, Cawnpore, Lucknow, Allahabad, and Benares, where he spent Christmas 1860. Then followed another tour with the Cannings, this time to Central India. Leaving the Viceregal party at Jubbulpore, Simpson went to Sanchi and then headed for Rajasthan: ‘In this journey at times, for a week or so, I never saw a European. … This existence gave me many opportunities of seeing the real life of the people. The ordinary traveller who ‘does’ India sees Bombay, Calcutta, Benares, Agra, and Delhi, but the vast spaces between these noted places he sees nothing of. It is in these spaces that the real India exists. That is where the 250 millions of people live their lives – a vast mass of simple folk that lead a simple existence among their fields and cows. They know nothing of Calcutta nor of politics’.

Simpson’s second visit to the Himalayas in April 1861 included excursions to Gangotri and Jumnotri (sources of the Ganges and Jumna Rivers), and then on to Ladakh. From Leh, he descended into Kashmir. While in Srinagar during August, he stayed with Colonel van Cortlandt, who was Government Agent at the time, and pitched his tent in the garden of his house. With Cortlandt and his family, he visited the Shalimar Bagh: ‘Our party, a very small one, crossed the lake in a boat, reading ‘Lalla Rookh’ as we paddled along. The programme included a dinner, to which we sat down about sunset. The fountains were playing, and a cascade had been turned on where there were small niches in the wall. Lights had been placed in these, and the water fell in front of them, producing a very beautiful effect. … When we moved into the verandah, with coffee and cigars, the whole place was bright with illuminations, the fountains were murmuring, and we found the nautch-girls arrived, each with her baji-wallahs, or musicians, and were ready to begin’. Although, as is obvious from his diaries, Simpson was more scientifically minded and pragmatic than romantic in character, he nevertheless clearly found this particular evening an idyllic experience.

Throughout his travels, Simpson filled pocket sketchbooks with innumerable features of the Indian environment. After returning to London from Calcutta, via Madras and Bombay, he prepared a scrapbook that he inscribed: India. Original Sketches made in the years 1859, 60, 61, 62. Designed and Drawn by Wm Simpson. June 1874. The mounted drawings, numbering 389, many of which are much larger in scale than those in his pocket sketchbooks, were meticulously annotated and dated. Most are in pencil but some have additional light watercolour washes. These were Simpson’s working drawings from which he subsequently made finished watercolours. This volume was purchased by the V&A in 1900 from Simpson’s widow, the portrait painter, Maria Eliza Burt, whom he had married in 1881, when nearly sixty years old. It thus forms the most important single collection of his sketches and drawings made on the spot in India. Simpson had one daughter, Ann Penelope, and it was largely for her that he wrote his autobiography. Consisting of his ‘notes and recollections’, Simpson dedicated the book to her ‘so that when she grows up she may through them learn something of her father’s life’. Edited by the author George Eyre-Todd, The Autobiography of William Simpson was published posthumously in London in 1903.

Simpson’s Indian experiences on behalf of Day & Sons should have led to a publication of some 250 lithographs, on a scale matching the Daniells’ Oriental Scenery and Roberts’ The Holy Land, if only everything had gone according to plan within the firm. On arrival back in London from India, Simpson moved into Chambers at 64 Lincoln’s Inn Fields with ‘a pleasant view of the dome of St. Paul’s visible in the distance’, and conveniently near the premises of Day and Sons at 6 Gate Street. He began work on the series of finished watercolours from his original sketches made on the spot in India: ‘I had finished and sent home very few of my pictures while in India. The great mass of them still had to be done. I had made only sketches or procured the material from which to work, and most of the subjects were full of elaborate detail, and could not be knocked off in a hurry. They occupied my time for three or four years of constant work before I managed to get all finished.’ An exhibition of Simpson’s work was held at the Fine Art Society in London in 1867. In addition to his Scrapbook, forty-four finished watercolours are also in the Museum. Vibrant with colour and narrative detail, they represent the work of an artist whose extraordinary visual memory could recreate the atmosphere and vitality of a particular Indian scene from a relatively simple sketch, long after seeing a place. While in India, Simpson’s interests extended far beyond the original directive from Day & Son. Rather than focus on the places and events of the uprising of 1857 (although he did visit several sites most affected), Simpson explored and discovered India for himself with the sensitivity of an exceptional recorder and reporter. In recreating these experiences in visual form, he instilled personal observations through the numerous details, especially evident in his portrayal of the local people at work, thereby adding charm, a sense of reality, and meaning to each finished picture.

Meanwhile in his autobiography, under the chapter headed, ‘Disaster’, Simpson wrote: ‘Although unknown to me at the time, it turned out that the firm of Day and Son had been drifting deeply into debt. William Day, the eldest of the three brothers, was the real manager and head of the establishment. He was a very clever man. His fault, probably, was the want of system or method, which is necessary for the carrying on successfully of a large business. He was always full of hope, and this hope I now believe, led him to his destruction.’ By 1867, the firm had gone into liquidation and was declared bankrupt. For Simpson, it was the major calamity of his life: ‘And as it turned out very shortly, the 250 drawings were thrown on the market, to be sold cheap as a sort of bankrupt stock.… So the great work on India, on which I had bestowed so much time and labour, never came into existence, and I lost the honour and reputation which would have been due to me if such a work had been properly produced and published.’

In fact, by the time the firm was liquidated, some fifty out of the eventual 250 of Simpson’s finished watercolour drawings had already been prepared as chromolithographs. The liquidators, therefore, decided to publish these prints in two volumes under the title India Ancient and Modern and the imprint of Day & Son, Gate Street, Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, in 1867. Sir John Kaye (1814-76), a prolific writer and historian, wrote the text. He had served in the Bengal Artillery and was then Secretary in the Political and Secret Department of the India Office. Although shortly before the firm went into liquidation, Simpson had accepted the appointment of art manager for this work, it was too late to salvage his project. He also felt that most of the images, already transferred onto the lithographic stones, were poorly reproduced. Instead of being a publication with 250 prints, resplendent with colour and epitomizing the romantic aspects of the subcontinent, India Ancient and Modern was a pale reflection of its original concept. While Oriental Scenery revealed picturesque aspects of the Indian landscape, Simpson’s work, in the hands of the chromolithographers, would have captured the romantic aura of a vast range subjects, reflecting much of people’s lives in the subcontinent. Compared with George Franklin Atkinson’s The Campaign in India (London, 1860), for example, which focused directly on the actual events and tragedies of 1857, Simpson’s pictures would have provided a much broader spectrum of the Indian environment. Nevertheless, his finished watercolours do convey a vivid impression of what might have been produced as illustrations. Several of his experiences in the subcontinent gave rise to romantic interpretations, notably ‘A Buddhist monk (Lama) in a monastery reading the scriptures’ and ‘The Observatory (Jantar Mantar), Delhi by moonlight’ (fig. 43). The watercolour of the monk seated beside a prayer wheel was reproduced in India Ancient and Modern. Another watercolour, ‘Soldiers and sailors looting the Kaisarbagh, Lucknow’, painted in London in 1864, is largely an imaginary scene. The scene showing people looting the Kaiser Bagh premises is one of the few by Simpson portraying such a vivid image of an actual event in India. The Kaiser Bagh Palace complex had been built by the last of the Nawabs, Wajid Ali Shah (ruled 1847-56), and the story of its looting may have been told to Simpson during his visit, perhaps by Rose himself.

The Observatory, Jantar Mantar Delhi by moonlight 1864
Fig. 43. WILLIAM SIMPSON
The Observatory, Jantar Mantar Delhi by moonlight 1864
V&A: 1146-1869