South-west side of Government House, Calcutta
Artist: Amherst, Lady Sarah Elizabeth (1801-1876)
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen and ink drawing of the south-west side of Government House in Calcutta by Lady Sarah Elizabeth Amherst (1801-1876) dated 1824. Lady Sarah accompanied her father Lord Amherst to India on his appointment to Governor-General in 1823. Marquis Wellesley, a previous Governor-General, had commissioned the construction of the new Government House in 1798. The architect, Captain Charles Wyatt of the Bengal Engineers, based his designs for the new building on Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire.
Describing the building Lady Sarah wrote, "The wing No.1 contains Papa's sitting rooms and a dressing room, which saves him the trouble of going up stairs at dinner time. Above are spare rooms for visitors. The Breakfast and tiffen room is the gallery under the circular veranda, and the same gallery upstairs serves as a Ballroom, when there are private parties. We dine in the large Marble Hall. The wing No.2 contains Mama's Sitting rooms and above stairs under the veranda her's and Papa's bedrooms - the 5 windows in shade are my bedroom, and those on the ground floor Cronk's. Wing No.3 is the other side of Dr and Mrs Abel's rooms, and Jeff's underneath on the same floor with Edward. The stone posts and chain have been put up since our arrival, before, there were only old decayed wooden ones, also the balustrade round the compound has been added. The posts come from a place called Chunar, some hundred miles up the country as there is not a bit of stone, not a pebble down here - for the same reason all the ornaments of architecture are done either in brick or cast in chunam, and the balustrade so much in use and which makes such a handsome appearance, is only pottery, washed over with chunam. The grass cutters inserted in the foreground have enough to do at this season of the year, when the grass sprouts faster than they can mow it. When cut, they scratch it up together with their hands, tie it in tall bundles and carry it away on their heads. On the southern or Britannia's side of the house, the wings are surmounted by the King's arms, but to the front they are the Company's - the color of the building is a lightish yellow and the venetians are painted green".