Tuesday, July 6, 2010
'View of Bombay', after the painting by Lambert & Scott. Mezzotint by Elisha Kirkall, c.1735. Printed for T. & J. Bowles. Presented by Sir George Birdwood.
Etcher: Kirkall, Elisha (c.1682-1742)
Mezzotint with etching of a view of Bombay by Elisha Kirkall dated c.1735 after the painting by George Lambert (1710-65) and Samuel Scott (1701/2-72). Inscribed on the front is: 'To the Honourable the Court of Directors of the United-Company of Merchants of England trading to the East-Indies this view of Bombay done after the Painting in the Court Room of the Company house in Leaden Hall Street is most humbly Dedicated by their Honours most obliged and most devoted Servant John Bowles.'
The area of Bombay was composed of seven islands separated by a marshy swamp and inhabited by Koli fisherman. Its deep natural harbour led the Portuguese settlers of the 16th century to name the settlement Bom Bahia 'the Good Bay'. The British Crown acquired the islands as part of the marriage dowry of Catherine of Braganza when she married Charles II in 1661. Bombay was then presented to the East India Company in 1668. The East India Company’s navy was founded at the beginning of the 18th century to protect shipping against pirates and the maritime Mahratta states. Ships were built both locally and in Britain and eventually the fleet was sufficiently powerful to be able to go into action anywhere between the Red Sea and China. The second governor of Bombay, Gerald Aungier offered inducements for skilled workers and traders to settle here and the town quickly developed into a thriving trading port and commercial centre.