N.E. View of Bentinck's Buildings, the Beach, Madras 1362
Artist: Gantz, John (1772-1853)
Water-colour drawing of Bentinck's Buildings, the Beach, Chennai (Madras) by John Gantz (1772-1853) in 1822. Inscribed on the front in ink is: 'John Gantz, 1822'; and on the back in ink: 'N.E. View of Bentinck's Buildings, Madras. John Gantz. 1822.' Gantz, probably of Austrian extraction, was employed as a draftsman and surveyor by the East India Company from about 1800 to 1803, eventually receiving a government pension.
Chennai (Madras) lies on the Bay of Bengal in the north-east corner of Tamil Nadu. It was founded in 1639 when Francis Day of the East India Company acquired land for a warehouse or ‘factory’ here which was completed on 23 April 1640. This was the first important English settlement in India and remained the centre of English influence in the East until the rise of Calcutta in the late 18th century. The city was one of India’s major ports and mercantile centres, based around the harbour and George Town, its commercial heart. It has a rich architectural legacy of colonial buildings dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Bentinck's Buildings were erected as mercantile offices during the administration of Lord William Bentinck, Governor of Madras from 1803 to 1807.