Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)
Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink
Watercolour with pen and ink of a a portrait of Father Paolo Abbona, a Roman Catholic priest, 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 (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 Father Abbona as the 'Piedmontese priest of the Roman Catholic chapel at Umeerapoora, where he has also established a school in which he proposes teaching English. He appears to be in the confidence of the King; and was frequently a medium of communication with His Majesty on matters connected with the mission. In illustration of the King's liberality of mind, Father Abbona stated that, though a teacher of another faith, he occasionally received royal pecuniary aid in his labours, and that he was convinced that if the King were once brought to believe in the truths of Christianity, he would not hesitate to become a Christian.'