Reading Objects in the Contact Zone
How to cite this chapter

Young, Tom: Art and Sociability in Colonial India, in: Troelenberg, Eva-Maria, Schankweiler, Kerstin and Messner, Anna Sophia (Eds.): Reading Objects in the Contact Zone, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2021 (Heidelberg Studies on Transculturality, Vol. 9).

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ISBN 978-3-96822-049-9 (PDF)
ISBN 978-3-96822-050-5 (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-3-96822-051-2 (Softcover)

Published 10.06.2021.

Tom Young

Art and Sociability in Colonial India

The "Behar Amateur Lithographic Scrapbooks"

Abstract This chapter examines a series of lithographic scrapbooks, published between 1828 and 1830 by the Behar School of Athens—an ama­teur art society founded in the Indian city of Patna. The majority of prints in these albums were produced by the society’s president, Sir Charles D’Oyly (1781–1845). However, they also contain works signed by two local Indian artists: Jairam Das and Seodial. This chapter explores how the inclusion of these artists conformed with a discourse of “improvement” adopted by the Athenians, but contradicted the persistent denial of colonial civil society by both British MPs and East India Company officials. In exploring this contra­diction, it argues that art is not only produced in “contact zones,” but has the potential to instantiate them.

Keywords East India Company, Amateurism, Lithography, Sir Charles D’Oyly, Colonial Sociability