Banyan tree Plate 6
Artist: D'Oyly, Sir Charles (1781-1845)
Medium: Lithograph, coloured
This coloured lithograph is taken from plate 6 of Sir Charles D'Oyly's 'Views of Calcutta and its Environs'. D'Oyly loved the Indian landscape and its rich flora. Banyan trees being sacred to Hindus, it was forbidden to cut them, so they grew to huge proportions - sending out aerial roots that grow into new branches on reaching the ground. This image excellently portrays the serpentine growth pattern of the tree.
D'Oyly wrote to Warren Hastings (whose wife was his godmother): "To this wonderful work of nature I devoted four days of the last cold weather and while sitting under the spreading branches I could not help wondering that no painter had been induced to exert his talents in describing this tree as it ought to be - alone ... it should stand in the picture as it does in nature unrivalled."