Ca. 1840. Finely detailed hand color gouache paintings depicting a wide range of trades people in brightly colored garments, created as souvenirs, and painted on a thin, flexible sheets of mica, a mineral found throughout southern India.
Mica paintings were produced in India in sets for the colonial tourist trade, as well as for employees of the East India Company; this is where the term "Company school" or "Company paintings" is derived.
Seven individual sheets of paintings, each with two figures painted per page (usually the trades person and his wife), with captions in English and Hindi below the images, in period ink and pencil. The delicate images show the trades person at work with tools arrayed around him.
The 7 sheets include: a gold smith (sample of fine jewelry displayed near him on a deep blue carpet) and his wife (holding a small goldsmith hammer); a beggar (the caption reads, "beggar who cuts his limbs to excite compassion") and his wife; candle stick maker and his wife; Mahommedan Munshi or Teacher, and his wife; a violinist and drummer (with partial incorrect caption, "Dancing girls [?]"); An Applauder and his wife ("one who goes before a king to proclaim his greatness"); and a pilgrim carrying an elaborate arched red and green offering on his shoulder with his wife. The caption in pencil below the pilgrim's image reads, "Palance [eanadi?]; overwritten is an ink caption which reads, " A Pandarum in this case, one on a pilgrimage to Parlany with milk sugar tea in his candy box to be offered to Cumara Swamy in Supramarnyan".
14 paintings on mica mounted with paper corner tabs, on paper. Each painting 3 1/4 x 4 3/4"; paper 7 3/4 x 6 1/4". An original manuscript index written in ink accompanies the images; it records odd numbered images from 1 through 35. Six figures with some loss to color paint on the garments, otherwise good + condition. Item #25555