A View of Bombay from Malabar Point during the Fire of 1803
Engraver: Barth, J.S.
Medium: Aquatint, coloured
Aquatint with a view of Bombay on fire in 1803, published by R. Cribb in 1804 and part of King George III's Topographical Collection. Bombay, (now Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra State), was by this time the headquarters of the East India Company on India's west coast off the Arabian Sea, and had grown as a centre for the burgeoning cotton trade. Much of the settlement, which was centred around the old fort, was destroyed in the great fire of 1803. Although the fire was disastrous, it prompted the British to plan a new town with wider roads and better use of space. The engraving is based on a drawing by Lt. Colonel Williamson, executed on the spot from the heights of Malabar Hill while the fire was raging. Malabar Hill was the lushly wooded and steep-sided promontory which commanded panoramic views of Bombay. With its cool sea breezes it became the location for fine colonial mansions and is still an exclusive district of the city.