Old Chowk & Entrance to the Emaumbarah. Luknow. Nov. 1814.
Artist: Smith, Robert (1787-1873)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil drawing of the Chowk and the entrance to the Imambara at Lucknow by Robert Smith (1787-1873) in November 1814. This is one of 27 drawings (29 folios) of views made during a march from Benares (Varanasi) to Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, probably en route for Almora in 1814. Inscribed on the original cover is: 'No. XIII. Ganges & Luknow'. Captain Robert Smith was a military engineer with the East India Company and was in India from 1805 to 1833. He designed a number of buildings in India and also repaired various Indian monuments including the Kutb Minar and the Jami Masjid at Delhi.
Lucknow is the state capital of Uttar Pradesh in northern India. It came to prominence under the Mughals and during their rule became a flourishing centre for the arts. Supported by the wealth of the royal court many fine palaces, tombs and mosques were erected mostly dating from the mid-18th century onwards. The Chowk is the main bazaar area of the city. The Chhota Imanbara is also known as the Husainabad Imambara or Palace of Lights. It was built between 1837 and 1842 by Muhammed Ali Shah to serve as a mausoleum for himself and his mother and was also intended to provide relief from famine through employment. A gilded dome dominates the building and is covered with minarets, small domes, arches and a miniature replica of the Taj Mahal. Inside there is a silver-faced throne as well as the tombs of important individuals from Avadhi.