India -- Social life and customs -- Pictorial works
India -- Description and Travel -- views
India -- Union Territory
Scope and Contents:
A series of watercolor pictures depicting Tamil men and women of various trades and castes. These ethnographic studies may have been rendered for a French official or merchant as identification aides by a local Indian artist in Pondicherry, as the area was under French control as part of the French Indian Territories during this time. The name "Company School" has been attached to suggest the similarity between these drawings and those typically commissioned by the East India Company, especially during the early 18th century.
The format generally consists of a drawing of an individual with information identifying the subject's caste and the activity depicted. Not all drawings are accompanied by identifying information. It may be notable that, while not all of the male subjects are identified in the above manner, none of the female subjects are identified by caste or activity. The regularity of size and shape and numbering of the sheets would seem to indicate that these drawings may have been used to illustrate a bound monograph. Captions are in French. Several sheets are watermarked "J. Whatman. Balston & Co." with dates 1822-1825.
Organized by subject.
Biographical / Historical:
Thomas L. Hughes was a prominent official in the U.S. Department of State and visited India during the 1960s; he also maintained collegiate relations with Chester Bowles, a former U.S. Ambassador to India and an influential advocate for Third World aid programs in Washington.
The collection was donated to Sackler Gallery Study Collection in 1984 by Thomas L. Hughes and moved to the Archives on December 13 and 22, 1993.