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  • Place of origin:

    Kolkata (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1830 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Painting, opaque watercolour on paper, an Englishman wearing white trousers, a green coat, black shoe and top hat is seated on a blue elephant holding a gun, which is held the wrong way round, to shoot a tiger.

Place of Origin

Kolkata (made)


ca. 1830 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour on paper


Height: 404 mm maximum, Width: 280 mm maximum

Object history note

Normally the hunter would be contained in a howdah, a small enclosure at the back of the elephant, and the elephant would have been driven by a mahout, the elephant trainer. However the artist has edited this image only to the dominant features, the Englishman, gun and tiger. The painter depicted the animal with a tiger's ring marked tail but missed out the tiger's stripes on its body, instead the animal has almost a leopard's spots.

Historical significance: Calcutta was recognised as the capital of British India from 1833-1912. By the 1830s, artists (patuas) had arrived from rural villages in Bengal and began to produce paintings that reflected the local history, mythology, customs and conflics of a colonised society. As a popular art form, these artists are recognised for their use of brilliant colour, simplified images and swift and bold brushstrokes that became the hallmark of Kalighat painting in the 19th and early 20th century.

Descriptive line

Painting, Englishman on elephant shooting tiger, opaque watercolour on paper, Kalighat, Kolkata, ca. 1830

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

p. 18, no.1, ill p. 29, p. 21
Archer, W.G., Bazaar Paintings of Calcutta, Victoria & Albert Museum, H.M.S.O., 1955
p. 79
Sinha, Suhashini, and Panda, C, eds. Kalighat Paintings from the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2012. ISBN 1851776656.
Fig. 1, cat. no. 1, xxxi: p. 45.
Kalighat paintings : a catalogue and introduction / by W.G. Archer. London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1971 Number: 0112900291 :
Arts of Bengal : the heritage of Bangladesh and eastern India : an exhibition organized by the Whitechapel Art Gallery in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum : 9 November-30 December 1979, Whitechapel Art Gallery ..., 12 January-17 February 1980, Manchester City Art Gallery ... . [London]: Whitechapel Art Gallery, [1979] Number: 085488047X (pbk.) :





Subjects depicted

Gun; Tiger; Elephant


Paintings; Animals and Wildlife; Folk Art; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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