Mr. Antonio Camaretta. Collector of Customs &c
Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)
Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink
Watercolour with pen and ink of a portrait of Antonio Camaretta, a customs collector from 'A Series of Views in Burmah taken during Major Phayre’s Mission to the Court of Ava in 1855' by Colesworthy Grant dating from October 1855. This album consists of 106 landscapes and portraits of Burmese and Europeans and documents the British embassy to the Burmese King, Mindon Min (r.1853-1878).
The mission started at Rangoon (Yangon) and travelled up the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River to the royal capital of Amarapura in central Burma, founded in 1782. It was despatched by the Governor-General of India Lord Dalhousie and headed by Arthur Phayre. Grant (1813-1880) was sent as official artist of the mission. In recognition of his skill, the Burmese King presented him with a gold cup and ruby ring.
Grant wrote that Mr Camaretta was 'by birth a Portuguese of Goa. He has been above 30 years in the Burmese service, and is the present 'Akouk-Woon', or Collector of Customs at Umeerapoora [Amarapura], besides holding some office in the Palace connected with the Royal Treasury. Mr. Camaretta is a great favourite with the King, whose full confidence he appears to enjoy; and was hardly less kindly regarded by the members of the Mission. Whilst maintaining his faith and attachment to the King of Ava as a servant, he took pleasure in declaring he was not less a subject of Queen Victoria. On the breaking out of the last rebellion, when he lost the whole of his property, he was, with Mr. Spears, a prisoner in irons for the space of nine months.'