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Britain’s military and administrative presence in India provided a wealthy market for painters prepared to travel there. Chinnery worked in India from 1802 until 1825, and established a distinguished portrait practice.

The Bengal Artillery had been founded in the middle of the eighteenth century, as Britain stepped up its military role on the subcontinent. The vegetation around the Colonel, especially slender palm tree visible on the left, is clearly non-Western. Nevertheless this portrait is basically a conventional image of a military officer, posed informally.

August 2004