The view depicted here is of the Victoria and Prince’s Docks in Bombay (Mumbai) in the early 19th century. In the scene there are Parsees wearing ‘phetas’on the jetty. Parsees were actively involved with the docks in Bombay, as well as the trade with China. There are numerous Maharashtrians with typical Peshwa style pagdi along the quay. The general labourers are dressed in typical Marathi style. Cross Island can be seen in the background. The date is suggested as steam has not yet replaced the sailing ships. The swing bridge to the right of the painting was positioned at the entrance to the docks, and was in use as late as the 1970s.
There appears to be a regatta or celebration of some description taking place to the right of the scene, with troops parading and the ships flying coloured pennants. A highly detailed scene, a particularly charming detail is the group of figures standing at the right hand edge, peering to get a better look at what’s going on. Painted by an unknown artist, but one with an eye for detail.
Private UK collection
South Asian Art: 1820 - 2020, Asian Art in London, 22 -29 October 2020, Grosvenor Gallery, London, no. 1
South Asian Art: 1820 - 2020, Asian Art in London, 22 -29 October 2020, Grosvenor Gallery, London, exhibition catalogue, pg. 4-5
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