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View from Malabar Hill (Aquatint)

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India Visual Art Archive
View from Malabar Hill
Original hand-coloured Aquatint;
9.3 x 11”; 13 x 28 cms 
Publisher / Artist: Rudolph Ackermann, London; Publication: Scenery, Costumes, and Architecture, Chiefly on the Western Side of India by Captain Robert Melville Grindlay; from the collection of Mrinal Kapadia
(The work will be shipped without a frame, packed flat, or rolled in a tube). 
An exquisite view of the arriving monsoon clouds seen from Malabar Hill looking towards the Bombay Fort and the mainland beyond, it was originally sketched by a reputed professional artist by the name of William Westall during his short time in Bombay in 1804. The sketch of this view was bought by an enterprising Bombay Army captain by the name of Robert Melville Grindlay, whose name stayed relevant with us until quite recently in the form of Grindlays Bank. 

Grindlay collected various views of Western India over his years in the East India Company army, and combining some of them with his own amateur sketches, had them converted into aquatint plates, producing ‘next to Daniell’s Oriental Scenery, the most attractive colour plate book on India’ (Tooley), of which this is one view. 

The approach of monsoon on the Western Coast of India, Grindlay writes: “is indicated by vast masses of clouds, which, for many days previous to the bursting of the monsoon, collect over the Ghats or Mahratta mountains, assuming an awful and threatening appearance. After a period of nearly eight months of almost total absence of rain, it descends with a violence unknown beyond the tropics, producing an effect which has the appearance of magic; the surface of the earth assumes, in the short space of three or four days, the most brilliant verdure.
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