GB/0397 Royal Academy of Arts Archive.
HU Ozias Humphry papers 1753-1810
HU/4 Original correspondence of Ozias Humphry, volume 4 1788-1795
                        >HU/4/112 W[illiam] B[aillie], Calcutta, to Ozias Humphry 4 Oct 1795
Reference CodeHU/4/112
TitleW[illiam] B[aillie], Calcutta, to Ozias Humphry
Date4 Oct 1795
Extent & Medium5 pieces
Previous Reference CodesHU/4/113
Content DescriptionHe believes he has hurt his eyes in using a magnifier for copper etching and will give it up. People see him as no more than an amateur dabbler, who learnt in India. Even so, his Views of Calcutta are popular with his subscribers. He has wasted a great deal of time on unprofitable landscape painting, but has tried oil portraits and his friends encourage him to continue. There are many of the middling sort who would buy portraits, and would not know a good picture from a bad. He thinks he can promise a likeness, and makes enough as superintendant of the True School and means also to take up pastels, with Russell's treatise as a guide.

Humphry must, by now, have seen Devis, who returned on the same ship as Mrs. Huy[?] and Mrs. Col. Morgan. His wife is at Lisbon. It was infatuation to marry of "woman of that stamp", she had been kept previously by a Mr. Shaw and was one of their "stage heroines". He fears poor Devis has now caught a "tartar". Devis plans to publish his engravings of Indian manufactures in colours under his own direction, also his picture of Lord Cornwallis receiving the hostages.

Mr. Home has arrived from Madras and commands high prices. There is also a Mr. Solvyns, from Brussels, who specialises in shipping. He is currently executing 250 etchings of Indian tradesmen, aiming to sell sets for 250 rupees. He has made good money painting palankeens, for Stewarts the coachmaker. The coaches are of extraordinarily high workmanship. Solvyns has also met success with picture cleaning, his is a true Dutchman. Mr. Speke has many pictures by Daniell and Solvyns charges 100 rupees to clean each. Solvyns would not impart his "mechanical knowledge", not even the composition of his varnish.

Poor Alefounder has killed himself with a pen-knife, his head almost cut off. He had been melancholy some time. There is a female artist in the country, a Mrs Baxter, "she is a poor stick". Renaldi has, he believes, has done well in the out-stations. Longcroft, Zoffany's aid de camp is at Lucknow, painting or trading. Poor Hudson is dead, after a long illness (he provides details). Hudson had executed plates for Devis's pictures Hastings and Cornwallis. He is glad to hear that Zoffany and Messrs. Daniell are well. He, however, has been ill and wishes he was back in England. Provides gossip of some family and friends. Poor Hamilton has been very ill.

He has heard of Daniell's new publishing venture, twenty four views of Hindustan. He provides a high estimation of Daniell's work and relates this to his ideas on landscape painting and engraving, having just received part one of Boydell's Thames he enjoys the work of Apostool. He thinks Farington a bit of a mannerist. He continues discussing landscape engravers.

He discusses current political events, in particular the war with France. It is quiet in India, although the Tippoo regards them with an evil eye. The Nizam and Mahrattas are at war. Mr. Dring, of Dring & Co. has sailed to England to bring a cargo of English articles. The company has built a new warehouse called the "Long Room", which would be the envy of London, provides a description. He wishes Humphry to send, via Mr Cleland of Drings, some good quality painting matierals and prints of his own works. He wishes to know if Seton is still alive. He has heard that Smith is in Edinburgh, having earnt 20,000 in India.
BibliographyElements of Painting with Crayons, John Russell (1772)
NoteAn endorsement identifies the correspondent as William Boydell, this is in error, unless there are family circumstances of which I am ignorant. This is a long and detailed letter.