Monday, July 5, 2010

North-west view of the fort of Bombay--Date: 1826--Artist: Westall, william (1781-1850)

North-west view of the fort of Bombay

This is plate 17 from Robert Melville Grindlay's 'Scenery, Costumes and Architecture chiefly on the Western Side of India'. Grindlay (1786-1877) was only 17 when he arrived in India in 1803. He served with the Bombay Native Infantry from 1804 to 1820 and during this period made a large collection of sketches and drawings.

Referring to the fort of Bombay, Grindlay wrote: "The fortifications which were originally commenced by the Portuguese, and subsequently improved by the English, though very strong particularly towards the sea, are too extensive, and require a very large garrison. That part represented in the plate is the north-west extremity, and exhibits a remarkable accumulation of threatening embrasures, commanding the approach from the northern part of the island".

By the middle of the 18th century, the fort area had became too congested and setllements moved outside its walls, with the governor moving in 1750 to Parel. Much of the area was gutted in the great fire of 1803, the year Grindlay arrived.

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