Native artists were encouraged to paint images of Indian life which reflected the social fabric of the period.
By the late 18th century, the British emerged as the dominant power in India, encouraging middle-class young Englishmen to join the East India Company as civilians and soldiers. The newcomers were fascinated by the variegated landscape of the country, its magnificent monuments and the diversity of its people. They wanted to acquire pictures of their new environment, but not all of them could afford to buy the works of noted British artists engaged in portraying the scenic splendour of India and its exotic people. As a result, British residents and travellers started commissioning native artists to create paintings of their chosen subjects. They were keen to collect them as mementos and souvenirs for their friends and relatives in England. For the British, almost every aspect of life in India was worth sketching. Their favourite subjects, however, were historic monuments with their novel architecture, people of different classes in colourful costumes, festivals and rituals, crafts and occupations, different modes of transport, and nautch girls. Continue reading Company paintings of India