On the hot stove
Company paintings, commissioned primarily for Western consumption, were made to depict how people in an Indian society lived in the late 18th century. They were later patronised by Indian nobility in the style of European painting. These would highlight the natural environment of India with its local flowers, animals, markets and architecture. In the 19th century, artist workshops emerged with artists like “Fakir Chand Lal and Tuni Lal specialising in costumes and occupation.”
The scenes of Indian men like this one could have belonged to any region of the subcontinent, particularly Murshidabad, Patna, Benaras, Tanjore or Trichinopoly. Although the Portugese and the Italians were also commissioning Company paintings, the British purchased them to capture all their travels in India, when they were fascinated by Indian costumes, festivals, rituals, new types of food and ways of cooking that they’d never experienced before.