The Frontier, from the Steamer
Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)
Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink
Watercolour with pen and ink of a view of the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River at the frontier between British and Burmese territory 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 wrote that: 'The frontier of the British and Burman territories, which was passed on the forenoon of the eleventh day of the journey, is marked on either shore by two white pillars, which in the drawing, as in reality, are distinguishable as little more than two white specs. ‘It was laid out in 1853-54, with great ability and labour by Major Grant Allan, of the Madras Quarter Master General’s Department, from the summit of the Arracan Yomadoung (or spinal range) to the first ridge of mountains eastward of the Sittang.’ (‘Captain Yule's Report page 228’.) The shore on either side, but more particularly on the west, is hilly and luxuriantly woody, and rich in all the varied and ever changing tints which sun, clouds, elevation and distance confer on large masses of vegetation. In order to obtain this sketch the steamer was for a few minutes checked in mid-stream.'