ishop Heber, approaching Calcutta in 1823, described it
as a 'city of palaces' and many splendid 18c and 19c buildings
still stand, including the great Fort. This was completed
in 1770, after 13 years work and a total expenditure of
over £2m. It replaced the old Fort William. Following Pitt's
India Act of 1784, British administration was centralised,
and Calcutta, situated in the rich province of Bengal, became
the centre of government. The old Company Presidencies of
Madras (Fort George). Bombay, and Bengal (Fort William)
ceased to exist.
It was to Calcutta, therefore, that Tipu's
family were transferred from Vellore, after the 1806
rising. They built three mosques in the city, one in the
suburb of Tollygunge (1835-43) and one (1842) in Chowringhee
Square, where it stands today. The semi-circular windows
and fan-shaped motifs are derived from the architecture
of Robert Adam, one of Scotland's greatest architects. Adam's
work also inspired the design of Government House (now Raj
Bhavan), built for Lord Mornington between 1807 and 1814.
The architect, Capt Charles Wyatt, based his design on that
of Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire, built by Robert Adam between
1759 and 1770.
The artist of this watercolour was also a Scot: Schetky
was born in Edinburgh and studied under Alexander Nasmyth.
He became painter in watercolour to the Duke of Clarence
and Marine Painter in Ordinary to George IV and to Queen
Victoria. He was never in India, but by the mid-nineteenth
century when this watercolour was painted, he could refer
to many engraved sources for views of the Indian capital,
for example the published engravings of Thomas and William
Daniell (1786), James Moffat (1798-1805) and the Scotsman
James Baillie Fraser (1824)