Wall painting from the head offices of the British East India Company, 1778
(The British Library: Foster 245, Roma Spiridione, 'The East offering its riches to Britannia')
This image was painted on the ceiling of the headquarters of the British East India Company in London in 1778.
It uses a range of figures to illustrate different aspects of the work of the East India Company.
Britannia is sitting on a rock to show how well established the empire was and is guarded by a lion to show its power.
The children behind Britannia and under her protection represent the British East India Company.
The stream of water at the bottom of the painting is the Indian river Ganges. Calcutta (the main settlement of the Company in Bengal) presents a basket with pearls and other jewels.
China is represented by jars of porcelain and a box of tea, and Bengal by an elephant and a camel. In the background a ship is taking the treasures of the east back to Britain.
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