Painting thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Painting

1866 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

William Simpson (1823 - 1899) was a distinguished watercolourist and war artist. Having established his reputation by documenting the Crimean war in 1854, Day and Sons, the London lithography firm, commissioned him to sketch well-known sites in and around Delhi associated with the Revolt of 1857 by Indians against the rule of the British East India Company.

Simpson arrived in Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1859 and travelled widely. His rapid pencil drawings formed the preparatory studies for his finished watercolours done after his return to London in 1862. His detailed journal, sketches and pictures from India resulted in these highly coloured, evocative, and romantic interpretations of the landscape and architecture.

Simpson completed the painting of the whirlwind of dust in 1866. He titled the work ‘A devil’. Dust storms such as these occur commonly in arid regions, the Arabian Peninsula in India being one of them.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Watercolour on paper
Brief description
Painting by a whirlwind of dust, India by William Simpson, pencil and watercolour on paper, London, 1866
Physical description
Painting of a dust storm arising in a cultivation field. Several birds fly away as the dust rises. A pair of oxen drive a red bullock cart away from the storm. Shanty dwellings, cattle and two herdsmen are visible in the background.
Dimensions
  • Height: 10in
  • Width: 14in
Marks and inscriptions
A Devil. Wm. Simpson 1866.
Credit line
Purchased from Day & Son, Limited (London) in 1869
Object history
Simpson, William (1823-1899). Painter and lithographer. Simpson was apprenticed to a lithographer in Glasgow and in 1851 came to London where he made views of the Great Exhibition. He became well known for his paintings with commissions by Queen Victoria to paint various important events in her reign. In 1859 the publishers, Day and Son, commissioned him to make drawings of India. On his return he produced "India, ancient and modern" (London, 1867), a series of illustrations of the country and its people. Later in 1876, he accompanied the Prince of Wales to India and published "Shikare and Tomasha, a souvenir of the visit of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to India" (London, 1876).
Subject depicted
Summary
William Simpson (1823 - 1899) was a distinguished watercolourist and war artist. Having established his reputation by documenting the Crimean war in 1854, Day and Sons, the London lithography firm, commissioned him to sketch well-known sites in and around Delhi associated with the Revolt of 1857 by Indians against the rule of the British East India Company.



Simpson arrived in Calcutta (Kolkata) in 1859 and travelled widely. His rapid pencil drawings formed the preparatory studies for his finished watercolours done after his return to London in 1862. His detailed journal, sketches and pictures from India resulted in these highly coloured, evocative, and romantic interpretations of the landscape and architecture.



Simpson completed the painting of the whirlwind of dust in 1866. He titled the work ‘A devil’. Dust storms such as these occur commonly in arid regions, the Arabian Peninsula in India being one of them.
Collection
Accession number
1137-1869

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Record createdJanuary 22, 2003
Record URL
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