Posted on: 17 July 2016

Painting of Benares on the banks of the Ganges, by William Carpenter, watercolour on paper, India, 1856.

This is a view of the ‘ghats’ or bathing places below Aurangzeb's mosque at the city of Benares (now Varanasi) as seen from the River Ganges, with pilgrims bathing and praying.

William Carpenter was the eldest son of the distinguished portrait painter Margaret Sarah Carpenter and of William Hookham Carpenter, who became Keeper of the Prints and Drawings Department at the British Museum. In early 1850 he set off in the footsteps of his younger brother Percy, also an artist, and landed in Bombay. He spent much of his time painting portraits of local rulers and the surrounding countryside, often wearing Indian dress himself. He travelled widely, from Sri Lanka in the south to Kashmir in the north, and he also spent some time in the Punjab and Afghanistan before moving south to Rajasthan. He appears to have returned to England in 1856. Ten years later he was living in Boston, USA, but he later returned to London, where he died in 1899. Carpenter's Indian pictures display a particular interest in costume, agriculture, and the day-to-day lives of the local inhabitants.

Text and image:
Copyright: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London


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It is interesting that there were so many priest's tents so close to the water's edge at that time. Why did this change, I wonder?

It is interesting that there were so many priest's tents so close to the water's edge at that time. Why did this change, I wonder?

Incredible

A still earlier image by James Prinsep http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/apac/other/019xzz000007511u00004000.html

He also sketched the Palace at indore, and therefore probably came to mhow too about 1857

Amit Sinha

??

Excellent Atul. Thank you for such a rare information. How could you search this. You are really genius.

The minaret of the Alamgir Mosque at Panchganga ghat does not exist now.

Amit Sinha

Originally it was a Vishnu Temple of Madho Rao, which was the tallest & biggest temple in Varanashi But it was demolish by Aurangzeb and built a mosk in his name with the material of the temple, with two tallest minaret. During British rule in India both the minaret make shorter which still exist .Sanctum sanctorum. of temple still exixt. Back side of mosk a Math of Mahatma Trailanga Swami (Walking Shiva of Varanashi) exit.