Prome, from the Southern heights
Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)
Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink
Watercolour with pen and ink of a view over the hills of Prome (Pye) in Pegu (Bago) from 'A Series of Views in Burmah taken during Major Phayre’s Mission to the Court of Ava in 1855' by Colesworthy Grant. This album consists of 106 landscapes and portraits of Burmese and Europeans documenting the British embassy to the Burmese King, Mindon Min (r.1853-1878).
The mission took place after the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852 and the annexation by the British of the Burmese province of Pegu (Bago). It was despatched by the Governor-General of India Lord Dalhousie on the instructions of the East India Company, to attempt to persuade King Mindon to sign a treaty formally acknowledging the extension of British rule over the province. The mission started out from Rangoon and travelled up the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) to the royal capital at Amarapura. Grant (1813-1880) was sent as the official artist of the mission. In recognition of his skill, he was presented with a gold cup and ruby ring by the Burmese King.
Grant described this view as follows: 'The approach is extremely beautiful. The bank towers into a lofty hill, clad in vegetation of the loveliest mossy hue, dotted with patches of dark underwood, and the massive foliage of noble trees...The principal object of interest in Prome is its gilded and more than ordinarily sacred and great Pagoda, conspicuously crowning the summit of a hill overlooking the town and river. It is called the Shwoe-san-dau, or 'Golden Hair,' and is said to enshrine a hair of Gautama, the founder of the Boodhist doctrines. The long flight of steps, reaching from the foot of the hill to the principal entrance, covered by a succession of gilded roofs, form a conspicuous object in the landscape...This view was taken from the heights occupied by the British army during the early war.'