GILL, Robert. Hackney, London 26.9.1804 — on route from Ajanta to Bhusawal 10.4.1879. British Officer (Major), Artist and Antiquarian in India. Son of a stockbroker. Entered the Indian Army in 1824, served in Madras, retired 1852. Appointed by his superiors to this work c. 1844-46 he made the first good copies of Ajanta paintings. Thirty full-size copies were sent to England in 1855. Of these 25 were exhibited, and perished in fire in the Crystal Palace near London in 1866, and only five copies survived at India Office (now at the South Kensington Museum). Other drawings like ground plans of the caves and architectural details are preserved. He was also an expert photographer, and worked in Ajanta until his death. “He died while being conveyed, very ill, from Ajanta to Bhosawal.” Keen hunter and famous tiger-killer. New copies were made by —> Griffiths in 1872-85. His Ajanta copies are now valuable, because the originals have considerably deteriorated in time. Married 1825 Frances Flowerdew Rickerby, also had an Indian mistress and children with both.
Publications: With J. Fergusson: The Rock-Cut Temples of India. With 74 photos. L. 1864; One Hundred Stereoscopic Illustrations of Architecture and Natural History in W. India. L. 1864.
– “Notes on Hemadpauti Temples … of West Berar”, ProcASB 1873, 66-72.
– “Old Gill’s notes and illustrations of the Buddhist caves of Ajanta”, Bombay 1876, 7 p. (JBRAS?).
Sources: Burn & Chatterjee 49; Buckland, Dictionary; worldcat.org; Wikipedia with photo.
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