Collections

Free Public Tours

Explore the Museum with the
curatorial team every weekend.

Time: Saturday and Sunday
11:30 am English Tour
12:30 pm Hindi/Marathi Tour
Open to all.
Museum ticket applicable.

Early Modern Period


The Museum's extraordinary collection of models and dioramas served to document the life and culture of 19th century Mumbai and is an important extension of the colonial project to capture in minute detail the people of India. Produced under the tutelage of the Museum's curators Ernst Fern and C. L. Burns, both of whom were also principals of the Sir J. J. School of Art, the collection also forms a unique art historical reference to the larger genre of Company School painting. ‘Company painting’ refers to the hybrid style that emerged during the early 18th to the 19th centuries. Used to document different aspects of Indian life such as festivals, occupations, communities, local rulers and monuments, the style was naturalistic and displays European influence on Indian art.

From the mid-19th century, schools of Art and technical training established by the British in India, imparted western art education to Indian artists and craftsmen. Closely associated with the earliest museums, these institutions critically impacted the development of art practice in India.

In Mumbai, the Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy School, then popularly known as the Bombay School of Art, opened in 1856 with the intention of teaching students the ‘science of art’, or the technical skills required to become master draughtsmen. The School shared a close association with the Museum, then known as the Victoria and Albert Museum, with several principals of the School serving simultaneously as the Museum’s curators. As a result, the Museum became a showcase for the new designs, decorative art products and modes of representation in painting and sculpture that were created by the students of the School. Some of these students later became Mumbai’s most renowned artists like Rao Bahadur M. V. Dhurandhar, Baburao Sadwelkar and P. A. Dhond.


Bombay School Pottery
Late 19th to early 20th century
Ceramic
Courtscene (detail)
Rao Bahadur M.V. Dhurandhar

Early 20th century
Watercolour on paper
Street Scene, Bombay, Baburao Sadwelkar
Early 20th century
Watercolour on paper
Bombay School Pottery
Late 19th to early 20th century
Ceramic

Bombay School Pottery
Late 19th to early 20th century
Ceramic
Carpet, Bombay School of Art
Late 19th to Early 20th century

Dilruba
Late 19th to early 20th century
Wood, ivory and metal

Maratha Lady
Rao Bahadur M.V. Dhurandhar

1916
Watercolour on paper

CL Burns, curator
Victoria & Albert Museum, Bombay

1903-18
Print from glass negative
Portrait of Jamsetjee
Jeejeebhoy



Prabhu Lady
Rao Bahadur M.V. Dhurandhar

1916
Watercolour on paper
Seascapes of Bombay seashore
P.A. Dhond

20th century
Watercolour on paper

Street Scene, Bombay
Baburao Sadwelkar

Early 20th century
Watercolor on Paper
V.T. Station in Monsoon
P.A. Dhond

1958
Watercolour on paper
Village Technical School
1957
Diorama with clay models
Occupations
Late 19th to early 20th century
Clay models

Cobbler Patna
Late 19th to early 20th century
Mica painting
Diwan-i-Khas, Delhi Fort
Early 20th century 
Painting on Ivory
Hindoo Natch Girls, Coleman
F. - 1899
Coloured Print
Indian Aborigines (Natives), Giulio Ferrario
1823-1830
Coloured aquatint

Jodhabai
Early 20th century 
Painting on ivory
Saumpareeah or Snake Catcher, Doyley
C. - 1813
Handcoloured Aquatint
Thug, People of Mumbai
Late 19th to early 20th century
Clay model
Village Life (detail)
Early 20th century
Diorama with clay models