Indian almond

Description
The Indian almond (Terminalia catappa) is not related to the true almond. The timber is good and of a rich reddish colour and the leaves can be used to feed silkworms. Tannins from the leaves and bark are used medicinally in many different cultures; they are thought to have potential for the treatment of some cancers and for the alleviation of sickle-cell anaemia.

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the East India Company controlled much of the Indian subcontinent. Keen to exploit and export valuable natural commodities, the Company set out to record the flora of India and commissioned Indian artists to create detailed botanical illustrations. Many of the plants were known through their use in Ayurvedic medicine. One of the world’s oldest medicinal systems, it has been practised in India for 3,000 years.

Company School style paintings became popular with wealthy Europeans. It was not uncommon for East India Company officials (who were not employed as medics or botanists) to build their own personal collections of paintings depicting Indian flora and fauna. We cannot be sure how local amateur botanist Richard Cresswell came by this collection of 86 Company School works. It is possible Henry Creighton commissioned them during his time as a judge in Calcutta and that on his death the works came back to the UK with his daughter Frances who later married Richard Cresswell.

Some drawings in this collection, including this one are signed on the reverse. The artist’s name, Bhawani Das, is written in English and Bengali. He is known to have worked for Lady Mary Impey, wife of Sir Elijah Impey the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Calcutta. It is probable that Creighton and Impey knew each other.
Accession Loan No.
19/1927/2/2
Collection Class
Drawings
Medium
watercolour on paper
Common Name
Indian almond
Simple Name
drawing
Full Name
Terminalia catappa Linn
Dimensions
total sheet H 555 mm; total sheet length 390 mm
Production Person Surname
Bhawani Das
Period Classification
George III (1760-1811)
Production Year Low
1780
Production Year High
1810
Production Town
Calcutta
Production County
Bengal
Production Country
India
Production Area Region
South Asia
Production Continent
Asia
Family Group

Inscription / Transcription
HERB. MUS. EXON CRESSWELL COLLECTION19/1927; No 2 Terminalia Catappa Linn; Bhubanidafs
Phylum
SPERMATOPHYTA: MAGNOLIOPHYTA
Family
Combretaceae
Genus
Terminalia
Species
catappa

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