Posted on: 14 June 2013

Watercolour by William Daniell R.A., entitled 'In the Garden House Reach, Calcutta'. India, ca. 1786-1791.

Watercolour depicting the environs of a garden house in Calcutta. Inscribed with title.

Copyright: © V&A Images

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Having rather airily dismissed the Daniell's creative talents as ' average ' further fown the page - ( I think I was clumsily attempting to play the devil's advocate) - one cannot help but acknowledge the genius of this painting - which has surely captured the very essence of Georgian Calcutta...still a semi-rustic but rapidly growing city in those distant days - where architectural elegance combined with frenetic commercial activity - the beating heart of a vast and complex network of global trade...

You mean Kolkata..

Agree with you here Julian Craig!

Was 'Garden Reach' the place near Calcutta where the last Nawab of Oudh (Wajid Ali Shah) was brought from Lucknow?

Aboard the ship Mcleod, Wajid Ali Shah reached Calcutta on 13 mAY, 1856 at Bichalighat. His retinue had reached by land and had rented a house of Burdwan Maharaj in Bichalighat. Kidderpore docks did not exist around that time. All along the route from Lucknow he was given gun salute at every cantonment. On reaching Calcutta there were no such honour. When he protested, canons were fired in his honour. After an initial confinement in Fort Williams, Wajid Ali also moved to the house of Burdwan Maharaj (now houses the Calcutta Jute Mill). Wajid Ali then made extensions along the river upto Hastings.

The last three decades of his life, Wajid Ali Shah settled in Metiaburj, (an extension of Garden Reach), under the British Military force of Lt.Col. Prideaux. The Military force were stationed in four houses, which still exist opposite the Hindustan Lever Factory.

The building in the picture above, could be the palace of Maharaja of Burdwan in Alipore.