1st Edition

The Art of a Corporation The East India Company as Patron and Collector, 1600-1860

By Jennifer Howes Copyright 2023
    234 Pages 85 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    234 Pages 85 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    The Art of a Corporation is a comprehensive study of artworks that were commissioned and collected by the East India Company from the early seventeenth to the midnineteenth centuries. These items range from oil paintings on canvas and marble statuary, to sandstone Buddhas and metal figurines of Hindu deities. The book takes a chronological approach and focuses on provenance to show that objects are valuable primary resources for understanding the East India Company’s history. The artworks illustrate how one of the longest-surviving multinational corporations in the Western world changed over its three-century history and provide a powerful visual account of its perpetually reinvented image.

    This book is a must read for scholars and researchers of art history, colonial art, colonial studies, British history, economic history, business history, South Asian history, post-colonial studies, and cultural studies.

    Chapter 1 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF at http://www.taylorfrancis.com under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.

    List of illustrations



    List of abbreviations


    1 Chaos to confidence

    2 Landscape and imperialism

    3 Romans

    4 Scandals

    5 Indian sculpture

    6 Bureaucracy

    7 Continuities




    Jennifer Howes is a London-based art historian who specialises in the art and architecture of India’s colonial period.

    “This is the first attempt to look at all the artworks produced by the East India Company, as a corporate entity. Through detective investigation, Howes brings the dispersed collection back together both as a narrative and as a collection, connecting also to current debates about empire, capitalism and memorials”.
    Giles Tillotson

    “The complexity of the East India Company is one of the reasons British Empire is so poorly understood. Howes does vital work shining light on one particular aspect of its history – a real education for me”.
    Sathnam Sanghera