The Eastern Bank above Mugway
Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)
Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink
Watercolour with pen and ink of the banks of the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River near Magwe in Burma (Myanmar) from 'A Series of Views in Burmah taken during Major Phayre’s Mission to the Court of Ava in 1855' by Colesworthy Grant on 14 August 1855. 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. 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 (Yangon) and travelled up the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River to the royal capital at Amarapura, stopping at various places on the outward and return journey. Grant (1813-1880) was the official artist on the mission. In recognition of his skill, he was presented with a gold cup and ruby ring by the Burmese King. A number of his drawings were used as illustrations to Henry Yule's ‘A Narrative of the mission sent by the Governor General of India to the Court of Ava in 1855’ published in 1858.
A mission report stated that the banks on this section of the Irrawaddy River were made up of: 'Bold, crag-like masses of sandstone, or sandy clay, cut into ravines, or water courses, by the rains, here and there enriched with patches of thick underwood, rise to a great height: and upon the ledges which their slopes present, little villages, or clusters of cottages, are perched, whilst, behind them, tall palmyras, from the most unlikely looking soil, shoot up into the air, and seem to belie the general aspect of sterility about them...'