Artist: Prinsep, James (1799-1840)
Frontispiece from James Prinsep's 'Benares Illustrated'. Prinsep (1799-1840), an antiquary and colonial administrator was assay master at the Benares Mint between 1820-30. The lithographs published in this collection were based on his original sketches of the various views of the 'holy' city of the Hindus. Writing about the publication Prinsep notes: 'The specimen here presented to the public have no pretensions to vie with the works of professional art, by which the cities of Europe have been illustrated. The collection of them amused a portion of the leisure of a ten years' official residence upon the spot; and they were intended, with several others, and a Map of the city, to illustrate the labours of a literary friend, when other important duties have diverted from the present execution of his design'. Although some of the illustrations were made by Indian artists like Kashinath in Calcutta, Prinsep sent most of his drawings home for transfer onto stone by 'eminent artists in England’. These included Louis Haghe, James Duffield Harding, Charles Hullmandel and George Scharf.