Mengoon, from the Steamer
Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)
Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink
Watercolour with pen and ink of a view of Mengoon seen from the steamer 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 stated that: 'the next place of halting was Mengoon (or Myen-goon) – ‘The site of the rustic Palace’ - a village of 200 or 300 houses on the east bank, two miles above Menhla...The numerous and crowded war boats at this place, the high and broken bank...over-topped by the sombre and massive foliage of the low palm...The Mission remained here only a few hours...to arrange for their state barges being taken in tow by the Steamers, in place of being pulled by their war boats, which had hitherto been a source of delay to the progress of the Flotilla. The barge of the principal officer was made fast to the ‘Bentinck’, and that of the other, at his own particular request, to the ‘Nerbudda’, as he objected to be towed by the Flat. Relieved of their tug, the wondrous war boats, pulling in slack water, in shore, were now enabled to keep pace with the steamers, which hitherto had been compelled, every now and then, to slack their speed to half power.'