The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom. Most of the paintings are historically connected with British Colonial rule in Asia from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century. Paintings from non-colonial sources are by contemporary British artists, or are from collections such as Manuscripts or the Punch Archives. The eighteenth and nineteenth century collections were acquired by Britain’s East India Company, and were displayed in their headquarters on Leadenhall Street, London. In the mid-nineteenth century, the East India Company was disbanded, and became a government department known as the India Office. Paintings continued to be collected during the twentieth century, and include portraits, landscapes and conversation pieces connected with the East India Company and the India Office. Besides portraits by notable artists such as Arthur William Devis, Johan Zoffany, Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Hickey, the East India Company collections include landscapes by Thomas and William Daniell, William Hodges and Francis Swain Ward, as well as the famous seascapes of George Lambert and Samuel Scott. The nineteenth century collections include 52 works by Marianne North.
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26 October 2021
The British Library Piazza will be closed to public access tomorrow until 8.40am. We apologise for any inconvenience.