The exhibition “The Company School: Indo-British Painting in Colonial India from the Swaraj Collection” provides a glimpse into one of the largest private collections of the Company School in India, comprising more than 800 paintings. Though the exhibition itself will display only 200 works of this genre, it serves as a window into the entire collection, as it represents a cross section of the typology of these paintings.
The Swaraj Art Archive has in its collection more than 500 mica paintings from Murshidabad, Patna, Benares and Oudh in northern and eastern India, and from Trichinopoly in southern India. Like the other Company School paintings done on paper in these regions, mica paintings, too, were primarily addressed to European settlers in India and therefore mainly dealt with orientalist themes, including professions, such as washerman, gardener, cook, fish and vegetable vendor, water carrier, cloth merchant, etc. Local flora and fauna also became an attractive theme for mica painting. Moreover, a large number of this genre depicting Hindu gods and goddesses, temple and chariot festivals as well as ritual performances appeared in sets of mica painting.
Swaraj Art Archive with COMPANY SCHOOL: Indo -British Painting in Colonial India from the Swaraj Collection at the India Art Fair 2016