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The Mud Volcanoes at Memboo 54066

The Mud Volcanoes at Memboo 54066

Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)

Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink

Date: 1855

Shelfmark: WD540(66)

Item number: 54066

Length: 219

Width: 294

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Drawing

Watercolour in pen and ink of mud volcanoes at Minbu 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. 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 locations on the outward and return passages. While Linnaeus Tripe was the official photographer of the mission, Colesworthy Grant (1813-1880) was the official artist. In recognition of his skill, Grant was presented with a gold cup and ruby ring by the Burmese King. In addition to a privately-printed book of notes, a number of Grant's drawing were used for 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.

Grant wrote that the mud flows at Minbu were: 'in the midst of a little desert of mud, fed by continued streams from the mouths of the volcanoes...The upper sketch is a near view of that seen in the background of the lower, up to which the party have toiled their slippery way. The jet of blueish oily looking mud is seen at the moment of its action, or pulsation, when a portion is thrown over a fissure in the side, and divides into streams in all directions. Lubricated by this new deposit, and the old being re-moistened by the rain, the ascent was most difficult, affording to an attendant group of excited Burmese lads the intensely delightful hope of seeing the 'kala' (foreigner) in a sprawl, - as they themselves were frequently.'

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