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Indian Botanical Paintings

DATES July 26, 1980 through September 01, 1980
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  • July 26, 1980 On Sunday, July 27, from 1-5 PM, The Brooklyn Museum and Brooklyn Botanic Garden will present a program sure to delight the senses. "Plants of India: Art, Music, Gardens” will combine a tour of tropical flora, a concert of North Indian classical music, illustrated lectures, and a private reception for the exhibition, Indian Botanical Paintings. Admission for the entire afternoon is $2.50, free to members of the Garden and Museum.

    The program begins at 1 PM in the Garden’s auditorium with a slide lecture, “The Eye of the Novelist: E.M. Forster's Indian Landscapes.” Dr. Robin Lewis of Columbia University will examine one modern Englishman’s perspective on India.

    At 2 PM, participants will meet on Magnolia Plaza, in front of the Garden Shop, for a tour of tropical flora. This will be followed at 2:30 PM with performances by Shyam Yodh on sitar and Elisabeth Von Brenken on tambura.

    The activity then moves to The Brooklyn Museum’s Iecture hall at 3 PM where Stuart Cary Welch will discuss “Paintings for the British East India Company.” Mr. Welch is the Curator of Hindu and Muslim Painting, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University and Special Consultant for Islamic Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

    The afternoon will conclude with a reception, from 4-5 PM, in the 2nd floor galleries where the exhibit Indian Botanical Paintings will be on view. For reservations and information call Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Special Events, (212) 622-4433 or The Brooklyn Museum, Department of Oriental Art, (212) 638-5000, ext.255. This program is sponsored in part by grants from Exxon Corporation and Abraham and Straus.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1980, 025.
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  • July 26, 1980 During the late 18th and early 19th centuries the East India Company commissioned native artists to record the "indigenous and introduced flora” of the Indian subcontinent. The exhibition Indian Botanical Paintings, which will be on view at The Brooklyn Museum July 26 through September 1, offers a stunning selection of these watercolor illustrations. The 72 works combine the British demand for scientific accuracy with the sensitivity of artists trained in the decorative style of Indian miniature painting.

    When the Mughal empire, which had been the ruling power in India for three centuries, was superseded by the British, skilled artists formerly supported by court patronage were eager for new employment. An important British trading concern, the Honourable East India Company used its considerable influence to conduct extensive surveys and hire the Indian draftsmen to produce exquisite studies of botanical, animal, and ethnographic subjects.

    The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, organizer of the exhibition, has tapped the resources of the collections of The British Museum (Natural History), The India Office Library, Linnean Society of London, and The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Though many of the paintings have been reproduced in the numerous botanical publications of the period, including William Roxburgh’s Plants of the Coast of Coromandel, (1795) there has been little opportunity for the public to see the originals. This is the first exhibition here or abroad to be devoted to this subject.

    On Sunday, July 27, The Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden will present a program, Plants of India: Art, Music, Gardens. Beginning at 1 PM at the Garden, a botanic travelogue, a walking tour of tropical flora, and a concert of sitar music will be followed by a lecture and reception at the Museum. The program fee is $2.50 per person, free to members of the Garden and Museum. For more information and reservations, call (212) 638-5000, ext. 225 or write to the Department of Oriental Art, The Brooklyn Museum, Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY 11238.

    An illustrated catalogue ($10) with introductory essays by Stuart Cary Welch of the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, and Phyllis Edwards, retired Librarian of the British Museum (Natural History), Department of Botany, will be available. The exhibition was supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, D.C., a Federal agency.

    Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Department of Public Information. Press releases, 1971 - 1988. 1980, 026-27.
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