Great Indian Fruit Bat
Attributed to Bhawani Das
India (Kolkata), Colonial British, c. 1777 - 1782
Pencil, ink, and opaque watercolors on paper
This watercolor belongs to the larger tradition of Company painting, or works made by Indian artists for English patrons (usually employees of the East India Company, hence the name of the school). Its anonymous artist is believed to have been in the circle of painters who worked for Sir Elijah Impey, Chief Justice of Bengal from 1774 to 1782, and his wife. They collected specimens of Indian flora and fauna at their estate in Calcutta and commissioned local artists to portray them. Although originally intended as a scientific record, the Impey natural studies are considered among the strongest achievements of the Company School.