Elevation of the West Wing and South Front of the Opium Godowns at Patna
Medium: Ink wash on paper
Drawing dated c.1770 and part of King George III's Topographical Collection,
showing a plan to rebuild the opium godown (warehouse) at Gulzaribagh, eight kms west of the town of Patna in Bihar State in India. Patna was a key centre for the opium trade in North India. All the European Companies - Dutch, Danish and English - had godowns in this region. By the late 18th century, the British East India Company controlled the two provinces of Bengal and Bihar which were areas of opium-growing, and monopolised opium production in India. The Company sold it at auction in Calcutta to private traders. Smoked mixed with tobacco, opium was a highly addictive and therefore lucrative commodity. British shipping dominated the opium trade from Calcutta to China.