Lexie Conyngham's Blog: writing, history and gardening.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Launch party 3: Sources for research for The Tender Herb

There is of course much discussion of books after dinner, and much conversation about India, where so many Scots go to seek their fortune. Spices and silks are already common on the Scottish market: even some Hindi words are creeping into everyday use.

Archer, Mildred, and Falk, Toby: The Passionate Quest: The Fraser Brothers in India, London 1989. Account of some of William Fraser’s doings in Delhi and Himalaya, with plates of paintings by his brother James. James was in India rather after my time but the whole family was there at various points, so I’ve included, briefly, Aleck Fraser, another brother. A tremendously talented family. 

Baron, Archie: An Indian Affair: From Riches to Raj, London 2001. Good background, very accessible.

Bayly, C.A. Indian Society and the making of the British Empire, Cambridge 1988. A more scholarly account, with a useful glossary.

Buddle, Anne: The Tiger and the Thistle: Tipu Sultan and the Scots in India, Edinburgh 1999. The catalogue from an exhibition in the National Gallery of Scotland celebrating two hundred years since Seringapatam, which, you might remember, was where Major Keyes left one of his legs (Knowledge of Sins Past)

Dalrymple, William: City of Djinns, London 1994. One of his earlier books on India and a good read, rich with historical commentary and contemporary anecdote.

Dalrymple, William: Age of Kali, London 1998. Another early book – they are his best, in my view – but this takes a wider view of India than City of Djinns. Although again it has a modern setting, his sense of the historical background of the places he visits and the situations he examines is very valuable.

Guy, Alan J., and Boyden, Peter B.: Soldiers of the Raj: The Indian Army, 1600 – 1947, London 1997. Another exhibition catalogue, this time from the National Army Museum, London. In this exhibition (pp.232 – 3 in the catalogue) was the remarkable (for its sheer size, if nothing else) painting of the ‘March of Francis Marquess of Hastings, Governor General of India, Commander in Chief’, 1814, showing the enormous procession required for the Governor General and his wife to tour India. This inspired, though on a considerably lesser scale, Murray’s journey from Bombay to Delhi – I sat staring at it for ages!

Kaye, M.M., ed.: The Golden Calm: An English Lady’s Life in Moghul Delhi. Reminiscences by Emily, Lady Clive Bayley, and by her father, Sir Thomas Metcalfe, London 1980. Beautiful book with plates of paintings commissioned by the family showing many different views of Delhi, with commentary and reminiscences. This lady was related to Charles Metcalfe, the Resident with whom Charles Murray stayed.

Parkes, Fanny: Begums, Thugs and White Mughals: The Journals of Fanny Parkes, London 2002. Very enjoyable account of travels in India from a female perspective.

Wild, Antony: The East India Company: Trade and Conquest from 1600, London 1999. In this I scribbled ‘We need: a strict clergyman, possibly a golfer; an enthusiastic golfer; a lady of spirit who visits zenanas but whose accounts brought back are not necessarily true; a quieter lady who is more reliable’. I’m not sure why I was so keen on the golfing aspect!

Henry Yule and A.C Burnell: Hobson Jobson, the Anglo-Indian Dictionary, 1886. Something to browse through – fascinating to see several languages coming together and the points at which they meet. Thanks to this for Mr. Buttered Toast!

Now, off with you to the last blog post of the evening ...

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