'Moulmein [Burma] from one of the Pagodas on the hill behind the town, early morning, Feby 1846'

No. 35 in Fanshawe's Baltic and later album, 1843 - 83. Fold-out panoramic drawing on two joined sheets, the right one stuck down on the album page, which is captioned by the artist below the image, as title. Fanshawe, in command of the the 'Cruizer', arrived from Trincomalee (Sri Lanka) at Moulmein, Burma, in mid-December 1845 and remained there until sailing for Madras on 10 April 1846. He noted that 'I never was at any place possessing less of continued interest....' (Fanshawe [1904] p. 143), though he gave a good account of what he did see in his journal and letters. On 22 Dcember he told his mother: 'The country is pretty here, and singular in appearance from the number of pagodas perched on the hills. They are shaped like the bottom of peg-tops inverted [toy whipping tops] and are built solid, the gods being stowed in sheds close by. They are in honour of the Buddhist religion, which is that of the Burmese. The houses are built entirely of teak wood, and are raised from the ground on poles, like the Malay houses. The teak wood is the principal article of trade; there are large forests of it inland, and the timber is floated down the river to Moulmein in large rafts. One of my duties is to purchase 400 tons of it for the Government for the use of Trincomalee. Everthing is so quiet there is little for me to do....' (p.147).

This drawing may be one of many he did to fill the time but is the only one from his Eastern posting that is included in the two albums which the Museum was given in 1951: it is also the earliest, since apart from a few drawings done in Britain in 1843, the rest date from 1849 on. It is apparently a view from about south or south-east of the town, of which the waterfront can be seen on the Gyaing River in the left middle ground, with the river heading east and north towards the Andaman Sea, out of frame to the left. Even if not quite so, 'inland' is to the right. Fanshawe's 1904 biography includes photographs of two other drawings done in the East, one of an 'Action with pirates, Borneo, 1845' (f.p.120) and another of Trincomalee in the same year (f. p. 142). The whereabouts of these, and probably many others from other periods of his career, are not known.

Object Details

ID: PAI4707
Type: Drawing
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Fanshawe, Edward Gennys
Places: Myanmar
Date made: Feb 1846
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Measurements: 176 x 530 mm
Parts: Album of watercolours of the Baltic, Mediterranean, Scotland, Switzerland and Burma (Album)

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