The Company School of painting, or the Company style, was partly an offshoot of the widening influence of the British East India Company in the 18th and 19th centuries. When the number of British families taking up residence in India grew as a result of heightened deployment of officers, so too did the demand for art. In response to this phenomenon, Indian painters began not only to produce more but also to paint differently from how they were trained to suit the tastes of their new patrons.
As the British had an affinity for science and discovery, Indian artists took to painting large-scale portraits of animals native to the county. The painters also depicted landscapes and people. The Indian artists, who had previously used Mughal techniques, utilized both formal natural studies and romanticized portrayals of their subjects. This hybrid approach came to typify the Company School of painting.
A number of works in this style will be exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art beginning April 10. The showcase will be on until Oct. 1.