Not currently on display at the V&A

Courtyard of a house in Pune

Painting
June 1850-December 1850 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

William Carpenter was the eldest son of the distinguished portrait painter Margaret Sarah Carpenter and of William Hookham Carpenter, who became Keeper of the Prints and Drawings Department at the British Museum. In early 1850 he set off in the footsteps of his younger brother Percy, also an artist, and 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, and he also spent some time in the Punjab and Afghanistan before moving south to Rajasthan. He appears to have returned to England in 1856. Ten years later he was living in Boston, USA, but he moved back to London, where he died in 1899. Carpenter's Indian pictures display a particular interest in costume, agriculture, and the day-to-day lives of the local inhabitants. This painting depicts the courtyard of a house used as a school for Hindus, perhaps the Visram Bagh Palace in the Budhwar district of Pune, which, with its wooden pillars and carved capitals, is a fine example of an old Maratha palace and has been used in turn as a Sanskrit college, a school and a court.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pencil and watercolour on paper
Brief Description
Courtyard of a house in Pune by William Carpenter, painting, watercolor on paper, India, 1850
Physical Description
A class is in progress under the veranda of the ground floor.
Dimensions
  • Width: 35.2cm
  • Height: 24.5cm
Gallery Label
This building could be the Visram Bagh Palace in Pune. With its wooden pillars and carved capitals it is a fine example of an old Maratha palace and has been used in turn as a Sanskrit college, a school and a court.(1/12/2008)
Object history
Historical significance: William Carpenter was trained at the Royal Academy Schools, and was the eldest son of the distinguished portrait painter Margaret Sarah Carpenter and William Hookham Carpenter, who became Keeper of the Prints and Drawings Department at the British Museum.



He was in India from 1850 t0 1856, during which time he travelled extensively from Bombay (Mumbai) and across western India to Rajasthan, Delhi, Kashmir, Lahore and Afghanistan. His depiction of every day street scenes and groups of people is remarkably accurate and animated, his portraits vividly capturing the character of his sitters and the glowing effects of sunlight as cityscapes and architectural monuments. Brilliantly executed in a range of warm colours, his watercolours evoke a gentle romanticism.



After his return to England, The Illustrated London News published some of his watercolours. In 1881, he exhibited 275 of his paintings in a one-man show in the South Kensington Museum, London. This entire collection was subsequently acquired by the V&A.
Subject depicted
Summary
William Carpenter was the eldest son of the distinguished portrait painter Margaret Sarah Carpenter and of William Hookham Carpenter, who became Keeper of the Prints and Drawings Department at the British Museum. In early 1850 he set off in the footsteps of his younger brother Percy, also an artist, and 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, and he also spent some time in the Punjab and Afghanistan before moving south to Rajasthan. He appears to have returned to England in 1856. Ten years later he was living in Boston, USA, but he moved back to London, where he died in 1899. Carpenter's Indian pictures display a particular interest in costume, agriculture, and the day-to-day lives of the local inhabitants. This painting depicts the courtyard of a house used as a school for Hindus, perhaps the Visram Bagh Palace in the Budhwar district of Pune, which, with its wooden pillars and carved capitals, is a fine example of an old Maratha palace and has been used in turn as a Sanskrit college, a school and a court.
Bibliographic References
  • Rohatgi P. and Parlett G., assisted by Imray S. and Godrej P. Indian Life and Landscape by Western Artists: Paintings and Drawings from the Victoria and Albert Museum, 17th to the early 20th century. Published by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, Mumbai, in association with V&A, London, 2008. ISBN 81-901020-9-5.p. 266, pl. 17
  • Patel, Divia; Rohatgi, Pauline and Godrej, Pheroza, "Indian Life and Landscape by Western Artists: an exhibition of paintings and drawings from the 17th to the early 20th century organised by the V&A and CSMVS". Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai and Victoria and Albert Museum, 2008, ISBN:81-901020-8-7p. 56
Collection
Accession Number
IS.76-1881

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record createdDecember 24, 2004
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