It is not as if readers are breaking my door down to publish this stupid little blog. So no harm done that it is late today, late by three full hours.
Going through the Archaeological Survey of India collection on the Google Art Project, I came across these two lovely drawings/engravings (Time Life Copyright). The first one depicts a Buddhist monument near Sarnath and the second one is a scene near Chillah Tarah Ghaut on the river Betwah in Bundelkhund. I am not sure about their period but they seem to be from the 1830s.
Apart from their superb proportions, there are many striking things about these. All such drawings/engravings of the era by the British colonial officers have a remarkable eye for detail and dimensions. They all capture the serenity of the time without being apparently affected by it themselves. The artists’ presence appears minimum in a way that even while these are individual views they still come across as faithful record of particular moments where the artist has carefully avoided editorializing.
I like the detailed byline system that is evident in both. The first one has been credited as “Drawn by W. Purser, Sketched by Capt. R Elliot, R.N., and Engraved by W. Taylor.” The second one was “Drawn by H. Melville, Sketched by Colonel Barton and Engraved by S. Bradshaw.” There is a clear and predictable order in the byline description.
I particularly like the fonts which they have obviously stenciled.They are like engraved font so typical of the time.