Fishing boats in the Monsoon, northern part of Bombay harbour
Artist: Stanfield, W Clarkson
Medium: Aquatint, coloured
This is plate 21 from Robert Melville Grindlay's 'Scenery, Costumes and Architecture chiefly on the Western Side of India'. Grindlay (1786-1877) was only seventeen when he arrived in India in 1803. He served with the Bombay Native Infantry between 1804 and 1820, and during this period he made a large collection of sketches and drawings.
Describing the approach of monsoon on the western coast of India, Grindlay wrote that it was: "indicated by vast masses of clouds, which, for many days previous to the bursting of the monsoon, collect over the Ghats or Marhatta mountains, assuming an awful and threatening appearance. After a period of nearly eight months of almost total absence of rain, it descends with a violence unknown beyond the tropics, producing an effect ... which has the appearance of magic; the surface of the earth...assumes, in the short space of three or four days the most brilliant verdure." In the plate can be seen fishermen repairing torn nets and stakes damaged during the monsoon.