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  • Painting
    Carpenter, William, born 1818 - died 1899
  • Enlarge image


  • Place of origin:

    India (made)

  • Date:

    probably 07/1850 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Carpenter, William, born 1818 - died 1899 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is one of William Carpenter's earliest Indian paintings. It shows a row of three shops in the Sadr bazaar, Pune (Poona), central India. On the left you can see a liquor shop, and in the centre a 'shroff' or money-lender. On the right is a shop selling pan or betel leaf. People throughout south Asia chew pan together with a mixture of areca-nut and lime. Carpenter's Indian pictures display a particular interest in costume, agriculture, and the day-to-day lives of the local inhabitants.

Carpenter's mother was the distinguished portrait painter Margaret Sarah Carpenter (née Geddes). His father, William Hookham Carpenter, became Keeper of the Prints and Drawings Department at the British Museum. In early 1850 William Carpenter landed in Bombay. He spent much of his time painting portraits of local rulers and the surrounding countryside, often wearing Indian dress himself. He travelled widely, from Sri Lanka in the south to Kashmir in the north. He also spent some time in the Panjab and Afghanistan before moving south to Rajasthan. He appears to have returned to England in 1856.

Physical description

A money changer and pan shop at Pune.

Place of Origin

India (made)


probably 07/1850 (painted)


Carpenter, William, born 1818 - died 1899 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Liquor Shop Shroffs Pawn Seller
English; Roman


Height: 13.75 in, Width: 9.75 in

Historical context note

William Carpenter (ca.1818-1899) travelled through India from 1850-1857 painting portraits and pictures of rulers and their courts and Indian scenery. He travelled to Calcutta via Bombay and Sri Lanka and then up to Delhi and the Punjab frequently dressing in Indian style during his journeys. He stayed in Kashmir from 1854-55, obviously delighting in the scenery and people. Later visiting Afghanistan and then moving south to Rajasthan. On his return to England he exhibited Indian scenes at the Royal Academy between 1857 and 1866.

Descriptive line

Painting by a British artist; William Carpenter, A money changer and pan shop at Pune, India, 1855.

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

Archer, Mildred and Ronald Lightbown. 'India Observed: India as viewed by British Artists 1760-1860. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1982. p108 and 138. ISBN 0905209184


Watercolour; Paper






South & South East Asia Collection

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