By William Simpson (1823-1899)
From India Ancient and Modern. A Series of Illustrations of the Country and People of India and Adjacent Territories with text by Sir John William Kaye.
Sir Kaye observed that ‘these beautiful works of nature are situated at no great distance from the western coast of the Southern Peninsula of India, on the road from Hurihur to Honore, between Madras and Bombay’.
Published by Day & Son, London 1867.
Chromolithograph. Approx. 355 x 520mm on original card 450 x 635mm. (14 x 20.5ins/18 x 25ins).
William Simpson was born in Glasgow in 1823. His background was modest and he began his career in printing workshops in Scotland. In 1851, determined to better himself, he travelled to London and applied to join Day & Son, the pre-eminent London lithographers. He was engaged immediately. In his autobiography, The Autobiography of W. Simpson (editor G. Eyre-Rodd, London 1903) he wrote ‘I had to learn my profession over again. The work was confined to chalk; that meant the lithographic crayon, and it also meant exclusively pictorial work. All I had learned at plans, ornament, and line work was in a sense useless’. Day & Son had extremely high standards to which Simpson became accustomed.
In 1859, Simpson, who had by then made his reputation as a war artist in the Crimea, was commissioned by Day & Son to visit India and record the places affected by the momentous events of the ‘Mutiny’ of 1857…