Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)
Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink
Watercolour with pen and ink of a view of Silleh-myo from the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River from 'A Series of Views in Burmah taken during Major Phayre’s Mission to the Court of Ava in 1855' by Colesworthy Grant and dated 19 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 (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 the image as follows: 'About three hours steaming brought the flotilla to Silleh Myo, a town on the east bank; at some former time, says Colonel Symes 'an ancient city, which once had been a place of considerable note.' It was said to be famous for its silk manufacture or trade, but nothing of it was now found. Even the Burmah boxes sold here were not made in the place. Several objects of antiquity and interest, however, were found to excite attention and curiosity. Amidst a great number of new and novel shaped pagodas were the remains of numerous ancient temples, which, from the dates of inscriptions found upon one of them, were supposed to be about 270 years old...'