|Ms. Emily Eden, sister of Lord Aucklanden.wikipedia.org|
Ms .Emily had flair for writing and paintings (1830s and 1840s) and they brought out the natural beauty of the Indian subcontinent, the rulers and the hardship being faced by the natives there. Emily Eden, the elder of the two sisters accompanied their brother George Auckland when he landed in India (March 1836 - roughly after 5 month long sea travel around the Cape of Good Hope) to take up the highest position in British India as the Governor-General of India. A prestigious, potentially lucrative and responsible position that required residence in India; the appointment was made by Lord Melbourne, the then prime Minister of England in 1935. For Ms. Emily, life in the tropical India was a different one - a 'total change from the life they had been used to'....Initially, she faced difficulty in adjusting her life to the hot weather and heat. She wrote, "I have not been able yet to live five minutes, night or day, without the punkah (large ceiling fan manually operated by men)], and we keep our blinds all closed as long as there is a ray of sun." Her persistent loneliness, tropical heat, different life styles of natives resulted in aversion for life in the Indian land. Her initial excitement over extravagant life style was slowly overshadowed by boredom and desolation
She observed: ''The red carpet welcome that was accorded to George Auckland and his two sisters left Emily totally amazed. The grandeur of government house made her proclaim that their residence looked rather like "a palace out of Arabian Nights ....................Everything is so picturesque and so utterly un-English." "Retinues of servants followed wherever they went, waiting on them hand and foot, and presenting arms every time Emily went out of the room in search of her keys or a handkerchief'' ... "He never stirs without a tail of joints after him." However, it did not take long for them to become accustomed to all the attention, and Emily soon recorded that for his part the Governor-General was "as happy as a king". An artist of no mean merit, Emily recorded everything that took her fancy, leaving behind a legacy of splendid sketches and paintings of her alien experiences in India
In 1837, Emily Eden, quite bored by her lonely stay in Calcutta while her brother was on tour all the time. she once accompanied her brother George, on a two-and-a-half-year tour through Northern India. It is said that to impress on the Rajahs and the natives the power and glory of British imperialism, they traveled with large contingent of retinue - a ten-mile-long procession of camels, elephants, horses, carriages, bamboo carts, soldiers and camp followers. A show of pomp (of course British arrogance) it also included twelve thousand people, this cavalcade could travel only about two hours in the early morning before the sun became too strong. Hailing from Wig family that had political clout, as a good writer Ms. Emily Eden, commented wryly on her participation in this gigantic daily parade
Back in England, in 1841 as Lord Auckland's tenure abruptly ended after his debacle in Afghanistan. The sisters Emily, Fanny lived along with their brother. Soon after the death of George and sister Fanny within a few months of each other, Emily Eden became chronically ill. She died at Eden Lodge on August 5, 1869. In her paintings, she beautifully depicted the grandeur of imperial life style and her famous paintings ae a boon for the posterity. She was impressed by the various cultures and costumes of peoples, places and her published account of her time in India - Portraits, Princess and Peoples of India got the attention of the British society
|Fort of Nahan, 1850s, British India under the EIC. en.wikipedia.org|
|1844 lithograph, Emily, Eden, sister of Lord Auckland.bl.uk/on|
This lithograph is taken from plate 24 of Emily Eden's 'Portraits of the Princes and People of India'. During Durbars, or receptions, the Governor General would sit in the Centre, with the visiting ruler immediately to his right. Flanking them were the Government Secretary, who acted as interpreter, and the visiting minister, who acted as spokesman for the ruler. While discussions went on trays of presents were exchanged. Ms.Eden wrote: "The conversation at receptions ... is generally confined to a brief usual routine of questions and inquiries ... mixed with boundless assurances of devotion on the part of the chiefs, and expressions of kindness and goodwill on the part of the Governor-General.
The following are some of Ms. Emily Eden's paintings
|Emily Eden Voyage to India, album1835–1836 artnet.com|
Eden wrote: "The conversation at receptions ... is generally confined to a brief usual routine of questions and inquiries ... mixed with boundless assurances of devotion on the part of the chiefs, and expressions of kindness and goodwill on the part of the Governor-General." Here, the Governor General Lord Auckland (Eden's brother) was receiving the Raja of Nahan, one of the Himalayan hill-states and now a district of Himachal Pradesh.
|Ms. Emily Eden's portrait Alamy.com|
Above image: A portrait of the attendants on the Raja Khurruk Singh, eldest son of Ranjit Singh, by Emily Eden; London, J. Dickinson & Son, 1844 . 1844. Emily Eden; London, J. Dickinson & Son 446 Raja Khurruk Singh.
|.Ms. Emily Eden, portrait of an Indian ruler. bl.uk|
|Mr. Emily's portrait of an Indian ruler. 1844 .rct.uk|