ITP Research Grant: A comparative study of depictions on India by the British artists of 18th and 19th centuries (Joyee Roy, India, ITP 2011)
We are happy to share a blog and film created by Joyee Roy, Documentation Officer, Victoria Memorial Hall (India, ITP 2011), who successfully applied for an ITP research support grant in 2022. In this blog we will share a segment of Joyee’s findings and share a link to the full write-up. You can also watch a film created by Joyee, with input from a number of ITP fellows.
Joyee’s full report: A comparative study on styles, techniques and themes between two categories (On spot and Stay at home) of depictions on India by the British artists of 18th and 19th centuries.
I am Joyee Roy from India, an ITP fellow from 2011. I have experience of around 23 years in two different museums (Victoria Memorial Hall and Rabindra Bharati University Museum) of national importance to Kolkata. I received The ITP Research Support Grant 2022 to pursue advance research on ‘A comparative study on styles, techniques and themes between two categories (On spot and Stay at home) of depictions on India by the British artists of 18th and 19th centuries’.
It was already mentioned earlier in ITP blog that as part of ITP summer programme, I visited Prints & Drawings Study Room of the British Museum and found few drawings and paintings on Indian theme by J.M.W. Turner and George Stubbs, two authorities of British art of 18th and 19th centuries who never went to India. That experience increased my curiosity about how they depicted India without being there and why they did it. Thus, the Prints & Drawings Study Room of the BM influenced me to choose my research topic in the future.
George Stubbs’ ‘Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians’
Among the well established professional ‘At Home’ artists of England, I have chosen to examine the depiction of three pioneer English artists of the romantic era: J.M.W. Turner, William Blake and George Stubbs. They depicted 18-19 century India and its habitants without making a visit there. Moreover, the indirect impact of Indian subcontinent changed their colour palette as well as the theme of their paintings extensively.
I found many interesting and unknown aspects related to my topic and hopefully will be able to find out more by accessing archives and libraries of my country. Also, I am trying to find out the similar aspects in different oriental countries by connecting and sharing thoughts with colleagues of ITP. I had arranged two online meetings with ITP colleagues and friends Meltem Ari (Turkey, ITP 2011), Sanjeewani Widyarathne (Sri Lanka, ITP 2019) and Aprille Tijam (Philippines, ITP 2019) on 30th December 2022 and with Rasha Ali (Egypt, ITP 2011), Rika Nortje (South Africa, ITP 2007) and Saadu Hashim (Kenya, ITP 2012) on 18th January. After the discussions, I was enriched with the thoughts and knowledge that we shared with each other. I found similar aspects in their countries which I am looking for. Though Eileen Musundi (Kenya, ITP 2010) was unable to join in online meeting but afterwards provided related information available in the collection of her museum. Also, I received contacts of museum professionals of different countries from them from whom I received related digital resources with information to form a concrete shape of my study.