GB/0397 Royal Academy of Arts Archive.
HU Ozias Humphry papers 1753-1810
HU/3 Original correspondence of Ozias Humphry, volume 3 1784-1787
                        >HU/3/49-50 Ozias Humphry, Calcutta in Bengal, to Mary Boydell 29 Dec 1785
Reference CodeHU/3/49-50
TitleOzias Humphry, Calcutta in Bengal, to Mary Boydell
Date29 Dec 1785
Extent & Medium2 piece
Content DescriptionHe has received two of her letters, his terrible suspicions at her silnce are utterly removed. He provides a critique of Smart's likeness of her, and that of her Uncle, which was painted by a pupil. He has shown her portrait to Governor Macpherson, with whom he is now on very good terms. He has painted his portrait, in miniature on a large scale. The Governor recommends he go up country to improve his health and will write letters to the "Nabobs" and "Rajahs" necessary. He hopes this will prove lucrative to his purse and his reputation. He further discusses his plans, and his hopes that he can relinquish miniature painting on his return. He knows his early return would not please her Uncle, for "nameless" reasons. The climate is so debilitating.

Her cabinet of prints now has no chance of selling, since the departure of Mr. Hastings. In India everyone lease their houses from month to month and there is no call to decorate their houses in so expenseive a manner. He asks for news of the "little God-son" that his brother promised.

He explains, in confidence, that Macpherson has offered to send him to Delhi and Agra, the Capitals of the Mogul Empire. He wishes to draw the costumes and manners of the people. Macpherson assures him that four months residence with the Nabob Vizier at Lucknow will give him the £10,000 he came to India for. This is his big chance and he is advised to take it. The British in Calcutta are poor, if Zoffany had arrived at this time he would not have made a fortune. He thinks he might be entrusted with an emabssy to the Nabob.

He has four portrait to do for the governor, at 1000 rupees each, but he will postpone these. His only concern is that if he goes to Lucknow Mr. Smart will take his place. The people require little more than a likeness and a smooth finish. The best oil painters are Hickey, who is weak, and Zoffany, who is soon to return.

Alefounder is disappointed in his prospects and has gone "Melancholy Mad". His friends hope to put him on the first ship out of India. The climate is so debilitating. Everything is so expensive here, Ozias pays £700 a year for his house. Whatever, he vows "I will be independent".