Panoramic view of Umeerapoora. Looking N.
Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)
Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink
Watercolour in pen and ink of a panoramic view of Amarapura looking towards the north 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 started out from Rangoon (Yangon) and travelled up the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River to Amarapura, a royal city founded in 1782 on the east bank of the river. Amarapura remained the capital of the Konbaung dynasty kings until 1823, after which time the capital moved several times between Amarapura and nearby Ava. In the late 1850s, Mindon Min moved the capital to Mandalay. Grant, the official artist of the British mission in 1855, made a series of panoramic drawings of the city from the residence of General D’Orgoni, a French adventurer, situated to the west of the walled citadel. The city was originally laid out on a square plan, with brick walls surrounded by a moat.
Grant wrote that: 'A very beautiful and woody Island...appearing to divide the river in mid-stream, covered with rich dense foliage, amidst which several snug villages appeared to be nestled and shaded, was in itself, when lit by the morning sun, streaming over the eastern mountains...A Kyoum on the eastern margin, high raised upon piles, and at the rainy reason of the year cut off from the island, isolated by water, which gives to the building the appearance of a floating Monastery, adds a picturesque feature to the scene...The thatched buildings occupying the fore-part of this picture are of that kind always tenanted by tradesmen, artizans, and...those who go to make up the mass of the population. The street running northward through the view is the Yattan, which is occupied almost exclusively by shops for sale of Rice, Lacquered-ware, British Piece and China Goods.'