Proclamation of the Queen’s rule in India, Calcutta 1st November, 1858
signed and dated ‘T. Allom / 1858’
watercolour on paper, heightened with white,
6 x 9 ⅝ in. (15.2 x 24.8 cm.)
With the Leger Galleries, Ltd., London, June 1965
Transcript from The Illustrated London News, 1st January, 1859:
'The First of November, 1858, will ever be memorable in the history of our Indian Empire. On this day, as duly recorded in our journal, Her Majesty's Proclamation to the Princes, Chiefs, and People of India was read throughout nearly every district in India, whereby it was officially announced that the political authority of the East India Company had ceased to exist, and that the Government of India had been transferred to the management of the Crown. This important State document, and a supplementary proclamation by the Governor-Generals, was read in the chief towns of the three Presidencies amid great rejoicing. We engrave this week three Photographic Sketches, which have obligingly been forwarded to us from Calcutta and Bombay, in relation to this great event.
Reading the Proclamation at Calcutta
The assumption of the reign of Government in India by her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria was celebrated at Calcutta with all fitting pomp add with great enthusiasm, both on the part of natives and of Europeans. From all quarters there poured into the city such a concourse of people as had never before been witnessed there. Government House was, of course, the great centre of attraction: and shortly after three o'clock the streets surrounding it became almost impenetrable. From the Esplanade to Tank Square the entire space was alive with a surging crowd.
The proclamation was read, according to programme, at four p.m.; the troops were all in attendance, and the public mustered in crowds, forming a very striking assemblage in the square before the great steps of Government House. The document was read in English by Mr. Beadon, and in Bengali by Babbo Samachurn Sircar. At the conclusion the Royal flag was hoisted a the head of the mast erected for the occasion before Government House, and it was saluted by the cheers of the European portion of the crowd, led by Mr. Halliday on the first round, and again by a sailor who hoisted the flag, and who had placed himself conspicuously on the Dragon Gun.
The illuminations at night were worthy of the occasion; and, whether they were a real proof of rejoicing on the assumption of the empire by the Queen or not, the old servants of the Company and the now servants of the Queen did their work well. No other city in the world could have prepared such a gorgeous spectacle.
The City of Palaces shone like a city of fire. The Government House was illuminated at every point & the lines of its architecture, of the cornices, of its plasters, and of its columns, were brought out in the most brilliant manner. The dome for once became an ornament, and a superb one, lines of fire streaking it like a melon; and a magnificent crown, surmounted by the cross, shone out in all the beauty of dazzling light. The night was dark as Erebus, thus giving further effect to the illuminations. The columns of the Baboo's Ghat at a short distance shone as one mass of bright light, marking all its lines and distinctly tracing the architecture. This was the character of the majority of the illuminations, the houses all appearing as though built of flame. The devised were the usual compliments to her Majesty, and Queen Victoria shone over the whole city in letters of fire.'
Provenance - With the Leger Galleries, Lt.d., London, June 1965
signed and dated 'T. Allom / 1858'