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Splendid Plumage: Indian Birds by British Artists

Jagmohan Mahajan (Author)
Synopsis With the increasing British involvement in Indian affairs in the 18 century, several civil and military officers of the east India company started taking an interest in the scientific investigation of local fauna, particularly birds. Most of them were amateur bird-watchers who spent their leisure moments observing birds. This satisfying hobby soon became a passion resulting in scholarly papers and books with coloured plates, thus laying the scientific foundation of Indian ornithology. A number of these officers were also gifted with drawing skills and they made charming sketches of Indian birds. Most of the drawings were, however, originally produced by Indian artists working for British collectors and scholars, and many of these were later prepared or engraving for lithography by eminent artists in London. Some of the artists and ornithologists mentioned in the book are James Forbes, an amateur artist and keen naturalist who spent 18 years in India from 1766 to 1784; Christopher Webb Smith and Sir Charles D’Oyly, who together produced two pioneering lithographed books, The feathered game of Hindostan (1828) and Oriental Ornithology (1829); Brian Houghton Hodgson (1816-57) who encouraged Indian and Nepalese artists to draw birds scientifically; T.C.Jerdon (1836-68) who formalized the study of natural history in India; John Gould, the genius behind the monumental work, The birds of Asia (1849-83); Allan Octavian Hume whose landmark publication The game birds of India, Burmab and Ceylon (1879-81) included 152 splendid chromolithographs based on drawings finally worked by leading British artists of the day like E Neale and W.Foster; E.C.Stuart Baker whose three books on Indian game birds (1908-30) contained superb illustrations of outstanding bird artists like J.G. Keulemans and H. Gronvold. This book thus covers the period from the late 18 to 20 early centuries.
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About the author

Jagmohan Mahajan

Jagmohan Mahajan has been engaged in a study of the Ganga for the last several years. He is the author of The Ganga Trail: Foreign Accounts and Sketches of the River Scene and the text of the illustrated The Eternal Ganga, besides several articles in various well-known magazines and newspapers in India and abroad. His other main interest is the work of British landscape artists in India. He has written extensively on this subject, and his publications include Picturesque India: Sketches and Travels of Thomas and William Daniell, The Raj Landscape: British Views of Indian Cities, The Grand Indian Tour. Travels and Sketches of Emily Eden, Annexation of the Punjab, and Splendid Plumage: Indian Birds by British Artists.

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Bibliographic information

Title Splendid Plumage: Indian Birds by British Artists
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2001
Edition 1st. Ed.
Publisher Timeless Books
Language: English
isbn 962871113X
length 149p., Plates