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A view of the Tank Square, Calcutta, from the east / W. Baillie
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A view of the Tank Square, Calcutta, from the east / W. Baillie
1 engraving : hand-coloured; 30.5 x 39 cm.
Titled, signed and dated below image: No.4 / A view of the Tank Square, Calcutta, from the east / W. Baillie, fecit 1794.
William Baillie arrived in India as a Bengal Infantry cadet in 1777, transferred to the Engineers in 1778 and participated in surveys along the Hooghly River. He went on leave without pay in 1785 and the following year started a weekly newspaper, the Calcutta Chronicle. Baillie resigned from the army in 1788 intending to make a career as an artist but in 1792 took the post of secretary of the Free School Society in Calcutta. The following year he wrote to the portrait painter Ozias Humphry, "I am just beginning a set of twelve views of Calcutta, Fort William etc. (general ones) which I mean to execute as near as I can in the stile [sic] of Drawings by etching only the outline and filling in the tints with ink and then staining them. The price to be 3 Gold Mohurs the Set. I have got copies subscribed for to the amount of 500Rs. and upwards already, and I am not without hopes of clearing twice as much by them. The native artists tho' totally incapable of taking advice themselves, can copy extremely well ... I understand perfectly well the mode of Acquatinta [sic] Engraving ..." After the issue of this set of views Baillie had plans for subsequent printmaking projects but none eventuated. He died in Calcutta in 1799 at the age of 46. [Joy Hughes]
Christie's Visions of India, London, 10 June 1997, lot 180;Caroline Simpson Collection
Published in:
J P Losty in Calcutta, City of Palaces [London, The British Library, 1990] includes comprehensive topographical descriptions of Baillie's plates.
Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection ; L2007/90-4
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