STANDING FIGURE OF A WOMAN, 17TH CENTURY, INDIA, OPAQUE WATER COLOUR AND GOLD ON PAPER. FELTON BEQUEST, 1980. COLLECTION OF THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA – TAASA Review June 2013
It is not surprising that the themes dear to Company paintings concerned aspects of Indian life and individuals which were considered exotic, colourful and striking, and that their compilation with assiduous attention to detail was a distinguishing feature of the Company school.
In England in the late 18th century, at the same time that Company painting for the British in India was developing, `…people were beginning to look at the world around them in a fresh new manner which has come to be known as "the Picturesque"…’ (Archer 1992: 16).
Books like Costumes of the Lower Orders of London, published in 1826, recorded picturesque details of the apparel of chimney sweeps, shoe blacks, match girls and amputee beggars in a series of hand coloured engravings by Thomas Busby. sets of portraits of castes and occupations, procession pictures, sets of images of deities and religious sites and natural history subjects...