image of a blue bird with long neck and legs facing left

Grey Heron, c. 1780-1782

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The famed ‘Impey Album,’ to which these 11 natural history studies originally belonged, marks the beginning of a new school in the canon of Indian Painting: that is “Company Painting’’—so called after the British East India Company, which by 1757 had taken effective rule over the sub-continent—spanning from c. 1760-1880 and distinguished by native painters adapting to the needs of Colonial tastes. The result was an emergence of a distinctive Anglo-Indian aesthetic, which we see in the remarkable paintings here.

Between 1777-1783, Lady Mary Impey, wife of the recently appointed Chief Justice of Bengal, Sir Elijah Impey, commissioned three artists: a Muslim, Shaik Zain ud-Din, and two Hindus, Bhawani Das and Ram Das (all of whom trained in a Provincial Mughal atelier in the neighboring city of Patna) to record the newfound wonders of her Calcutta aviary and menagerie.

Grey Heron
Accession Number
Curator Approved

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image of a blue bird with long neck and legs facing left