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Antiquarian Books, Maps, Prints & Photographs - I Antiquarian Books, Maps, Prints & Photographs - I ROBERT MELVILLE GRINDLAY (1786 - 1877)
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Two original colored lithographs (a) Picture of a Hindoo Temple with other Hindoo and Mohometan Buildings; (b) Great Excavated Temple at Ellora, From sketches by Captain Grindlay. Drawn by D. Roberts, Engraved by R. G. Reeve.
Robert Melville Grindlay (1786–1877)
Grindlay, the son of a London merchant, sailed for India in 1803. He became lieutenant with the 7th Bombay native infantry and remained with the same regiment throughout his military career. His various appointments, which enabled him to travel widely in the western regions, included that of aide–de–camp to the governor of Bombay. He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1817 and took furlough the same year. By 1820, he was in England, where he married. He also retired from the East India Company’s service.
After the success of Charles Ramus Forrest’s 'A Picturesque tour along the rivers Ganges and Jumna in India', Rudolph
Ackermann’s firm began to publish an even more exquisitely produced book on India in early 1826. It contains 36 small
aquatints, printed from plates inked in a range of colours, with touches of hand–colouring. Over 25 artists, engraves and colourists (each one of whom was acknowledged in the publication), were employed on the project. Ackermann published the first two parts, consisting of 12 prints; Smith, Elder & Co., then took over and completed the series in May 1830. Its author, Robert Melville Grindlay, made more that half of the original sketches and provided a text to each print. He was a professional watercolourist, who visited Bombay and explored parts of the western Ghats in 1804, during his homeward voyage from Australia to England. Grindlay’s work was entitled 'Scenery, Costumes and Architecture, chiefly on the western side of India' and in the preface he explained. The subjects presented to the public in his work, are from a small part of a collection of sketches and drawings, made in India by the author while in the service of the East India company. The various appointments which he successively held gave him peculiar advantages in collecting materials; and he has been induced, by the partiality of his friends, to present them to the public, by whom (as they tend to illustrate a large portion of the country hitherto undescribed) will be favourably received.
During the 1820s, Grindlay launched into a new career. As a result of his experience in India, he set up a consulting agency near the East India house; at first it was known as Leslie and Grindlay and the agency specialized in giving travel and financial advice to people about to leave for India. When Robert Melville Grindlay retired from the firm in 1842, it was yet to be fully established as the banking house named after him.