Posted on: 9 March 2014

A view of Government House and Esplanade Row, Calcutta, from the Maidan - 1830

Watercolour with a black painted border of a view of Government House and Esplanade Row from the Maidan at Calcutta, in West Bengal, by Shaikh Muhammad Amir of Karraya, c.1830. The image is inscribed in ink below, with numbers corresponding to those on the painting, from left to right: 'Steam Engine for Water. Ships lying in the Hoogly R. 5 Supreme Court. 8 Advocate General's Residence. 4 Town Hall. Esplanade. The Treasury. 9 Gt. Ho. Gateway. 2 Cathedral Spire. 7 Loudoun Buildings. No. 1 Government House. 3 Scots Church. Road to Alipore used for the Evening Drive. 6 Bengal Club House. Mahmud Ameer pinxit. Pinxit' (followed by in nasta'liq)' Muhammad Amir musavvir.', and in pencil below (twice): 'City of Calcutta.'

Esplanade Row runs east-west to the north of the Maidan, an open space in which the new Fort William was built in 1757. By the end of the 18th century, Esplanade Row was the location of numerous public buildings including the New Court House, the Supreme Court, the Council House, the Mint and the old Government House. When Marquis Wellesley became Governor-General of Calcutta in 1798, he decided that the existing Government House was not a suitable building for his position and needs. He commissioned a new building, which was designed by Charles Wyatt of the Bengal Engineers and can be seen here. The artist of this view, Shaikh Muhammad Amir of Karraya was one of the most prolific Calcutta artists producing work for the British in the 1830's and 40's.

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