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f.16 The Cotton Plant.

f.16   The Cotton Plant.

Artist: Cussans, Thomas (1796-1870)

Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink

Date: 1820

Shelfmark: WD484

Item number: 16

Length: 12.1

Width: 27

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Sketch of a cotton plant by Thomas Cussans (1796-1870). Cussans served in the Madras artillery in 1814, then the Horse Brigade from 1817 to 1829. This is one of 19 drawings (22 folios) of scenes in Mumbai (Bombay) and the south of India together with a few miscellaneous sketches taken between 1817 and c.1822. Inscribed on the cover of the album is: 'Thos Cussans Lt. Madras Artillery. Janry 1817'; and on the title page: 'Thos Cussans, July 30th, 1817'

Cotton is an important crop in parts of the south and west of India. The cotton plant has broad leaves with three to five (or even seven) lobes and can grow up to 3 m (10 ft) high in the wild. After the flower has withered the cotton boll appears which splits when ripe to show the white cotton lint inside. The seeds are crushed to produce vegetable oil, or to make cattle food or fertilisers.

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