Wednesday, July 7, 2010
View of the Breach from Love Grove--Artist: Wales, James (1747-1795) Medium: Etching, coloured Date: 1800
This is plate 6 from James Wales' 'Bombay Views'. The series was painted for Sir Charles Malet (1752-1815), the British Resident of Poona, who met Wales in Bombay in 1791.
The view was taken "from the end terminating at Love Grove". The Great Breach was a weak point through which tidal water flowed, sometimes submerging the landmass known as the Flats. While the marshy land was accorded dangerous to health, due to the "pestilential vapours" rising from it, the reclaimed land could be used for agriculture and building constructions. Designed to block the Worli creek and thereby prevent low-lying areas of Bombay from being flooded at high tide, it was completed by Governor Hornby in 1784 - against the wishes of the East India Company. In 1795 when the Maratha army defeated the Nizam of Hyderabad, artisans and construction workers from the Nizam's dominions settled into these flats, which had by now been made liveable by the construction of the Hornby Vellard.