Notes on Culture & Antique Art, Ethnic Decor & Vintage Fashion | Wovensouls Art Gallery
I would certainly never have known the in-depth history of any region so far removed from my geo-location, were it not for the art that carries within it stories from beyond.
A glimpse into the world of Opium Trade of Patna, 1850s, through Company School Paintings created in Gouache on Mica.
Balling and putting into brass cups
Opium being mixed in a large, square wooden vat.
The Mixing Room, Opium Factory
Opium being made ready for despatch
Pots put into baskets and labelled
Two workers are shown carrying an opium crate away.
These Company Paintings (a painting made by an Indian artist for the British in India) is done on mica (talc) and comes from a series of nineteen illustrating processes in the manufacture of opium at the opium factory at Gulzarbagh in Patna, Bihar. According to the artist Ishwari Prasad, his grandfather, Shiva Lal (c.1817-1887), began to make the designs for these paintings in 1857. They were commissioned by Dr D. R. Lyall (the personal assistant in charge of opium-making) for a series of wall paintings in the Gulzarbagh factory. However, Lyall was killed in 1857, during the so-called Indian Mutiny, and the scheme was abandoned.
All pictures courtesy “Rare Book Society of India”
“The Truth about Indian Opium”
By G. Graham Dixon
Published H.M. Stationery Office, London – 1922
Copyright: © V&A Images