Made on 25th December 1850 In this view, the new Mahim Causeway linking the Bombay (Mumbai) and Salsette islands is visible in the middle distance. The ghats of mainland Bombay are in the far distance. While in Bombay, Carpenter took a local excursion to the nearby Salsette islands during Christmas and the New Year of 1850-51 which included a visit to Mount Mary Church at Bandra on Christmas Day.
Carpenter’s Indian pictures display a particular interest in costume, agriculture, and the day-to-day lives of the local inhabitants. In this picture, painted on Christmas Day 1850, Carpenter shows some of the islands that make up Bombay. He captures the view eastwards from the steps behind Mount Mary Church in Bandra on the island of Salsette, and along Mahim Creek. Sion Fort is to the right of centre, and the then new Mahim Causeway linking the Bombay and Salsette islands can be seen in the middle distance. In the foreground, two children are playing while their mother rests her water-jar on a wall.
About the Painter
William Carpenter was the eldest son of the distinguished portrait painter Margaret Sarah Carpenter and of William Hookham Carpenter, who became Keeper of the Prints and Drawings Department at the British Museum. In early 1850 he set off in the footsteps of his younger brother Percy, also an artist, and landed in Bombay. He spent much of his time painting portraits of local rulers and the surrounding countryside, often wearing Indian dress himself. He travelled widely, from Sri Lanka in the south to Kashmir in the north, and he also spent some time in the Punjab and Afghanistan before moving south to Rajasthan. He appears to have returned to England in 1856. Ten years later he was living in Boston, USA, but he moved back to London, where he died in 1899.