Monday, July 5, 2010

'Bombay on the Malabar Coast belonging to the East India Compnay of England'. Engraving by Jan Van Ryne, published Robert Sayer, London, 1754. Letterpress trimmed and on reverse.

Coloured engraving of Bombay by Jan Van Ryne (1712-60) published in London in 1754. The area of Bombay was originally composed of seven islands. In 1661, these islands were acquired by the British Crown from the Portuguese as part of the marriage dowry of Catherine of Braganza when she married Charles II. From 1668, the East India Company leased the land from the British Crown and developed the area as a trading port. A manor house of the Portuguese, situated on Bombay Island, provided a suitable site for the fort. A custom house, warehouse, quay and fortifications were also built soon after. Under the governorship of Charles Boone in the early 18th century, outer fortifications around the town of Bombay were constructed as well as a number of public buildings, including the Church of St Thomas. In this view, we can see the custom house, the Church of St Thomas and the flagstaff. By the 1860s, the need for military defence lessened and Governor Sir Bartle Frere demolished the fort walls. As a result, Bombay underwent an ambitious phase of building in the Victorian style.

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