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An image of Goldsmith by Company school

Company school

(India late 18th century – late 19th century)

Place of origin
Thanjavur (Tanjore)Tamil NaduIndia
19th century
Media categories
Painting, Watercolour
Materials used
opaque watercolour on paper

22.0 x 17.5 cm sight; 59.0 x 44.0 cm frame

Gift of Sheila Palmer accessioned 2008
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

The so-called ‘Company School’ emerged in the latter part of the 18th century, when the British overthrew both the Mughal and the Rajput rulers of India. Indian artists, who had previously painted for Mughal and Rajput patrons, instead began painting for the English residents of India, many of whom were employed with the British East India Company. Pictures painted for the British by Indian artists in a westernised style to suit the taste of the new clients came to be known as ‘Company Painting’. Company school artists mostly recorded the ‘exotic’ occupations and customs of the native populations.

Several distinct styles and sub-schools of Company painting developed throughout India as well as regions beyond, such as Sri Lanka and Burma. This painting, like the others in the set included in the collection, show neatly drawn figures of men and women of different castes and occupations, many holding tools of their trade, set against bright, opaque backgrounds. These features identify the works with the Thanjavur (Tanjore) style of Company school painting.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, August 2008.

Exhibition history (1)

East of India - forgotten trade with Australia, Australian National Maritime Museum, Sydney, 01 Jun 2013–18 Aug 2013