I’ve been working in a studio with street-scape etchers and admiring their evolving engravings of buildings in a metropolis; mostly of New York City as my fellow artists are being inspired by their immediate environment. There are myriad of these from the turn of the century which I saw in Florence recently; mostly for the tourists. The detail of rendered surfaces and architectural structures is astonishing.
These reminded me of a small but interesting collection of Anglo-Indian furnishings in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Much of the furniture is carved patterning that has caught black ink in it’s grooves on a white ground; I think quite a lovely iteration of black on white; though instead of paper there is wood and lacquer. These pieces are from Vishakhapatnam on the southeast coast of India; mostly acquired by Indian rulers for entertaining European guests in their palaces. What an interesting comparison of cultures; from the appreciation of the English eye; a view of Italy; reflected through Indian translation for English visitors.
The influence of European Engravings from the 18th century is obvious. An interesting reference point is the exhibit of engravings of Venice, also in the museum. Though it finishes today you can view some of the images online.