View eastwards from the steps behind Mount Mary Church, Bandra, Bombay, by William Carpenter, painting, watercolour on paper, India, 1850
In this view, the new Mahim Causeway linking the Bombay (Mumbai) and Salsette islands is visible in the middle distance. The ghats of mainland Bombay are in the far distance. While in Bombay, Carpenter took a local excursion to the nearby Salsette islands during Christmas and the New Year of 1850-51 which included a visit to Mount Mary Church at Bandra on Christmas Day.
William Carpenter was trained at the Royal Academy Schools, and was the eldest son of the distinguished portrait painter Margaret Sarah Carpenter and William Hookham Carpenter, who became Keeper of the Prints and Drawings Department at the British Museum.
He was in India from 1850 t0 1856, during which time he travelled extensively from Bombay (Mumbai) and across western India to Rajasthan, Delhi, Kashmir, Lahore and Afghanistan. His depiction of every day street scenes and groups of people is remarkably accurate and animated, his portraits vividly capturing the character of his sitters and the glowing effects of sunlight as cityscapes and architectural monuments. Brilliantly executed in a range of warm colours, his watercolours evoke a gentle romanticism.
After his return to England, The Illustrated London News published some of his watercolours. In 1881, he exhibited 275 of his paintings in a one-man show in the South Kensington Museum, London. This entire collection was subsequently acquired by the V&A.
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