Artist: Bellasis, George Hutchins (1807-1862)
Water-colour painting of the church at Coonoor by George Hutchins Bellasis (1807-1862) in 1852. Inscribed on the front in ink is: 'General Kennett's church: new building at Coonoor'; written in pencil on the tower are the words: 'fell down before finished.'
Coonoor sits at an altitude of 6,000 feet in the Nilgiri Hills in the south of India. It occupies a picturesque position on the side of the Jakatala Valley at the mouth of a gorge and is surrounded by wooded hills. The town developed after its sister hill station, Ootacamund (Udagamandalam), became the summer headquarters of the government of Madras in 1861. Coonoor became a popular resort for European people escaping the heat of the Indian plains, but was regarded as a bit more relaxed than Ootacamund, which had a significant official presence. It was also considered to have a healthy atmosphere and became a popular sanatorium and retreat for invalids.