19th century colonial art
July 12, 2016 1:32 AM   Subscribe

It's the late 19th century or early 20th century, I'm in a London shop that sells art. I ask to see paintings and prints that depict India and other colonial areas. What artists will I likely be shown? Were there any bestselling works or collections? Is there anywhere on the internet that has a good collection of pieces in this category?
posted by clorox to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You would see landscapes of India, with ruins. (Think of pictures trying to evoke a sense of either "the sublime" or "the picturesque.") you might have peasants or workers or primitives in a hut. You might have some tigers or tiger battles. You might have Queen Victoria, who was a very popular subject for art, inserted in a fake Indian landscape. Googling a phrase about British colonial painting of India does seem to turn up a good amount of examples. It's a pretty big and well-defined area of study for post-colonial scholars so you should be able to find books on it too.
posted by nologo at 5:25 AM on July 12, 2016

Interesting question!

Visiting the Courtauld Gallery a while back I was really struck by some of the 18th Century "English" style portraits painted of the sons of empire by English artists abroad.


This example is probably a bit early for this question, but Artuk.org is a really good website for showing the breath of art in British public collections that might be able to put you on the right track.
posted by Middlemarch at 5:36 AM on July 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

I went to a late 18th-early 19th century exhibition (at Yale's British Art ) a while back. I'd say the categories were architecture/landscape, ethnographic, and nature studies, with some fancier pieces depicting interior scenes or events.

Poking around a bit, one of the big names was Daniell, an uncle/nephew team. Hopefully this should give you a few starting points.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:56 AM on July 12, 2016

One of the most notable 19th-century English painters of India was Edward Lear, of Nonsense Book fame, who travelled around the country in the 1870s.

There also was the phenomenon of so-called "Company Painting" -- depictions of India made by Indian artists in a hybrid semi-Western style, made for colonial collectors. Not sure how many of those made it back to London, but they were apparently very popular with British people stationed in India.
posted by neroli at 7:09 AM on July 12, 2016

Not exactly on your question, but the Tate had an exhibition earlier this year on the art of the British Empire: Artist and Empire: Facing Britain’s Imperial Past. Looking at the exhibition might be rewarding for you.
posted by crazy with stars at 11:03 AM on July 12, 2016

I'm off by a century, and perhaps this isn't the subject matter you're looking for exactly, but a year or two ago, the Minneapolis Institute of Art had an awesome exhibit titled Imperial Nature: Flora, Fauna, and Colonialism in India. It demonstrated the influences that Indian artistic tradition had on scientific artworks that we today often think of as typically Western.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 9:12 PM on July 12, 2016

Have a look here[0]. This link has some old art from 18th and 19th century from a northern state. I've lived in that place.

PS. The European Cemetery[1] still exists (visited some years ago) but I doubt it will exist for long. Already being encroached upon and systematically ignored. There other existing buildings from that page and many of them have become part of Patna University.


posted by amar at 12:49 PM on March 5, 2017

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