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Sketches from a Howdah

‘Charlotte, Lady Canning, the modest and self-effacing consort of the 1st Viceroy Lord Canning, was much more than just a dutiful wife. She was a very gifted water colourist and a shrewd observer of the social and political scene of India in the late 1850s. Her observations were always acute and sympathetic, especially so in the wake of the tragic events of 1857.

Fakir Aijazuddin has drawn on the rich vein of material contained in Lady Canning’s detailed journals and frequent crrespondence with her family and especially with Queen Victoria, whom she served as Lady in Waiting for 13 years. These, together with her many paintings, so long neglected, have now found a worthy amanuensis in Fakir Aijazuddin. His book most sensitively marries Lady Canning’s paintings and sketches with her own descriptive text.

She would have been gratified that at last, her perceptive and lively accounts of the often hazardous journeys she undertook across northern India as far as the fabled Khyber Pass, into the Himalayas, her trek to Chini, and sojourn in Central India have a newer, wider audience worthy of her intrepid endeavours.’

CHARLES ALLEN, Author of A Glimpse of the Burning Plain:
Leaves from the Indian Journals of Charlotte Canning
(London, 1986).

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