Hindoo Mut in the Chitpore Bazaar
Artist: D'Oyly, Sir Charles (1781-1845)
Medium: Lithograph, coloured
This coloured lithograph is taken from plate 22 of Sir Charles D'Oyly's 'Views of Calcutta and its Environs'. This view shows the decaying 'Black Pagoda', a grand temple built in 1731 by Gobindram Mitter. Never completed, it was progressively damaged through neglect, and its main tower collapsed sometime before 1813. A bazaar, or line of native shops, led into the Chitpore area of the city.
Between 1720 and 1756, Gobindram Mitter was known as a 'black collector' or 'black zamindar', which meant he assisted the British Collector in gathering revenues from the local population. Like their masters, such collectors were often dishonest in the early years of British rule, and despite low pay they wielded massive authority. Thus Mitter was able to amass great wealth and power.