A View of the West Side of Tank Square
Artist: Fraser, James Baillie
Medium: Aquatint, coloured
This is plate 22 from James Baillie Fraser's 'Views of Calcutta and its Environs'. Fraser (1783-1856) arrived in Calcutta in 1814 and in six years produced these animated sketches of the busy city, published later as a collection of 24 superbly aquatinted plates. He included in his collection five views of Tank Square.
This image shows the square's west side, where "the gate to the tank faces Koila Ghat Street, on the right of which is the old export warehouse built up against the southern edge of the Old Fort". Part of the latter was demolished in 1819 to build up the new Customs House, which is outside the present view.
At the south-west corner of the Square, Council House Street leads down to Esplanade Row. On the corner of Council House Street and the square is the building where the first Public Exchange and Coffee House in Calcutta were situated. This did not perform very well, and was subsequently leased by Lord Wellesley for his College of Fort William.