Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Inscribed on reverse: 'Bombay Esplanade from our Tents. March 1870'.
Artist: Lester, John Frederick (1825-1915)
Water-colour painting of the Esplanade at Mumbai by John Frederick Lester (1825-1915) in March 1870. This image is from an allum of watercolours made between 1865 and 1877 in Kathiawar, Bombay, Poona, Mahabaleshwar and Savantvadi State.
Originally, Mumbai (Bombay) was composed of seven islands separated by a marshy swamp. Its deep natural harbour led the Portuguese settlers of the 16th Century to call it Bom Bahia (the Good Bay). The British Crown acquired the islands in 1661when Catherine of Braganza married Charles II, as part of her marriage dowry. It was then presented to the East India Company in 1668. The second governor, Gerald Aungier, developed Bombay into a trading port and centre for commerce and inducements were offered to skilled workers and traders to move here. European merchants and shipbuilders from western India were encouraged to settle here and Mumbai soon became a bustling cosmopolitan town.