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There is a vast collection of Indian natural history drawings in the Library of the Natural History Museum, London. Spanning a period of more than two hundred years, from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, they depict the rich variety of animals, birds and insects to be found in India and the magnificent flora of the different regions.
The Art of India presents many of these beautiful images, from fine botanical and zoological illustrations through to depictions of colourful artefacts and trinkets purchased in local markets. The artworks originate from a variety of sources that include individual artists and collectors, as well as organised studies of Indian natural history in the pursuit of science, commerce and politics. They were produced by European and Indian artists who worked to advance the understanding of Indian natural history by recording, describing, classifying and naming the flora and fauna of the country.
Judith Magee has managed the art collections of the Library of the Natural History Museum, London for over 10 years. She is the author of Art of Nature and The Art and Science of William Bartram and has contributed to several other books including The Great Naturalists.