History Archive > Oriental Drawings (1806)

Oriental Drawings: sketched between the Years 1791 and 1798


Date: 1806



Oriental Drawings - Title Page
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Gold, Charles. Oriental Drawings. London: Bunney and Co., for G. and W. Nicoll. 1806.


Gold, Charles (1806) Oriental Drawings. London: Bunney and Co., for G. and W. Nicoll.


Gold, Charles, Oriental Drawings. London: Bunney and Co., for G. and W. Nicoll. 1806.


Captain Charles Gold became a gentlemen cadet in the Royal Artillery in 1776 and became Colonel in 1825. "Oriental Drawings" is a series of images produced from sketches made by the Captain during his time in India between 1791 and 1798, while he was serving in military campaigns against Tipu Sultan, the ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore. Costumes, scenery, architecture and manners of India (and Indians) were captured in these drawings.

Archer in his "The Connoisseur" reported that Gold allowed "none to pass his quarter, without an invitation to walk in, which they always accepted and most readily permitted him to draw their portraits [Subscribers] may be assured that the dresses are minutely attended to, and characters strictly preserved...". The book aimed to appeal the taste for the 'exotic' of the time and to introduce Indian culture and environment to the Empire. Most drawings were etched almost entirely in aquatint, which produced the soft tonal quality of the prints.

"The following subjects are expressive of the usual dress and appearance of many casts, including also some of the Mohammedan faith, and portraying the general costume of the country." While serving the British army stationed in southern India, Captain Charles Gold drew the people of the Coromandel coast and the Mysore regionthe landscape, the local monuments and the dress of the inhabitants.

His illustrations, vibrant and richly hand-colored, depict the country's architecture, different castes, and military, while also portraying such religious fanatics as a Gentoo devotee who "rolled" his way from one city to another, and such novel street performers as snake charmers and a sword swallower. All but one of the drawings are by Gold himself. "A Lame Beggar," however, was drawn by an Indian painter, "the Moochy of Tanjore," and "possesses considerable merit as to costume and character" (Krishna Chaitanya).

First edition. 4to, 48 hand coloured aquatint plates, one vignette, the exception is plate 23, an engraved plate of musical instruments, and this a colored line engraving, an uncolored aquatint of a Hindoo Fakir appears on the verso of leaf 38 of text, later portrait of Gold in watercolor by his three times Great Grandson together with a MS family tree as a frontispiece.


Abbey Travel 428; not in Tooley; Archer pp. 72, 79-80; Cox Vol. I, p. 310; Martin Hardie, p. 134; Prideaux, pp. 247, 338; Bobins 250, SPL 964.

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Publication Information

Publisher: London: Bunney and Co., for G. and W. Nicoll





ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-07-31

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