LUDLOW, William Andrew. ~ Bengal Troops on the Line of March. A Panoramic Sketch by an Officer of that Army. London: Day and Haghe, [ 1835].
Panorama (114 × 8820 mm) being 18 joined zincographed plates (each 114 × 490 mm), all with original hand colour, plus explanation plate and a letterpress review from the United Service Journal, April 1835. Original cylindrical box with lid, around which is mounted the original title plate/label (now rubbed and soiled), the lid with a gold band. Some light thumbing throughout, one or two plates slightly clumsily joined (obscuring a very narrow sliver of the image). Occasional expert marginal repairs. A remarkable survival, in rolled format, complete with all requisite parts.
First edition of a spectacular panorama made from drawings by a British serviceman on the long sea voyage home to England. It depicts members of the Bengal Native Infantry on the march with horses, camels and elephants and includes a Hindu priest, native officers, water-carriers, laundry-men, sepoys, a coffee party, a ‘cart in which Native Females ride and ‘Fakeers denouncing their flying Friends’. The Bengal Native Infantry, comprising mainly indigenous troops, originated with the East India Company's Bengal Army and was central to British power in India; it was only disbanded after the Indian Mutiny (1857). William Ludlow was one of their British officers, apparently with numerous postings over a relatively long period, notably in the suppression of ‘Thuggee’ violence against British interests in Bengal.
This is also a very early British example of ‘zincography’, perhaps one of the earliest substantial projects in this media. In 1834, the Frenchman Breugnot obtained a 15 year patent for a new lithographic process in which zinc plates replace the more traditional lithographic stones. The Literary Gazette of 1834 contains a brief notice of specimen by Day and Haghe of this new process, the publishers of Ludlow’s remarkable large scale prints the following year. Abbey, Life 530. Copies are also known as folding plates in a cloth binding, or as loose plates sometimes mounted in albums, the rolled version, especially with the original box, appear very rare. Of all versions Worldcat lists copies at Brown, University of Minnesota, Zurich, National Library of Australia. The BL and the Lewis Walpole Library have a copies, in 6 original plates (each with 3 scenes, the Walpole copy uncoloured).