Samuel Howitt (1765-1822) after Thomas Williamson (1758-1817)

Exhibition of a Battle between a Buffalo & a Tiger’ from Oriental Field Sports (1819)


Hand-coloured aquatint

35 x 47 cm

Captain Thomas Williamson served in a British regiment in Bengal, India. He was known as a keen sportsman and, after returning to England, his notable interest in contemporary Indian sports attracted the attention of the publisher Edward Orme. Orme was a British engraver, painter and publisher of illustrated books, and in 1805 he commissioned Williamson to produce a work focused on Oriental sports and animals. The book took two years to complete, with the painter Samuel Howitt commissioned to produce watercolours based on original sketches by Williamson, most of which he had created while in India. The book in which the aquatint plates after Howitt were published was called Oriental Field Sports, which describes itself as ‘being a complete, detailed, and accurate description of the wild sports of the East and exhibiting, in a novel and interesting manner, the natural history of the elephant, the rhinoceros, the tiger, and other undomesticated animals’.