Posted on: 31 March 2013

New Book:
Illustrating India: The Early Colonial Investigations of Colin MacKenzie (1784-1821)
By Jennifer Howes
Published by Oxford University Press - 2010

Colin Mackenzie, the first Surveyor General of India, left behind a massive collection of manuscripts and drawings gathered between 1784 and 1821. Collected mainly in southern India, but also in north and east India, Sri Lanka, and Java, they form the largest and oldest extant archive of drawings to be gathered by a single European collector in Asia. The collection has never been comprehensively accessed and most historians are not even aware of its existence. This book presents for the first time a substantial though representative portion of Mackenzie's collection.
The visuals in the book are records of monuments, sculpture, landscapes, castes, and social structure in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Jennifer Howes' narrative not only contextualizes the visuals but also provides a panoramic view of the Indian subcontinent between late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. She provides an engaging account of people and everyday life in Hyderabad and Mysore, trades and occupations, temples and monuments and the various surveys conducted by Mackenzie.

This book will be a significant resource for scholars' of late medieval and early modern India. It will also interest art historians, archaeologists, and anthropologists.

Jennifer Howes is the curator of the Mackenzie Collection drawings at the British Library.

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Now - this is a 'must have', and even if I have to take out a second mortgage, I shall buy it!!

Kunal Dutt - have just looked on Amazon. The List price is an eye-watering $215 (£141; Rs.11,600). But it is available - second-hand - for as little as $59 (£38; Rs.3202). So, maybe not a second mortgage - just a tightening of the belt.

The hardcover Indian edition sold for about $50, but unfortunately is now listed as out of stock.

The author is the curator of Company prints and drawings at the British Library, among other things.

Note to page. You've repeated the second to last paragraph x2 in the above. The book looks excellent!

Visit to Lucknow Residency may take one physically to those days, of course without the palm trees.

Must have indeed !

Excellent! I'll ask about another print run.

I have posted this book twice earlier on RBSI and this is one of my favorite books. Thank you!

Given the topic, it deserves to be posted twice to this list, which (in any event) has grown in membership quite a lot.

Thanks for sharing the link