Some facts of equestrian Statues and fate of colonial ones in India

Since 1990s countless Indians have resented the presence of so many colonial statues in public places across India and they do not want  any vestiges of colonial rule in crowded  places because their  atrocities were just overwhelming up to the brim during the Raj prior to 1947.  With the advent of modern media and more and more research papers, newspaper articles, etc coming up with with the true story of colonial exploitation, blatant racial disparity and looting of Indian revenue to the tune of about 44 Trillion US dollars,  the present generation of Indian people have developed a sort of abomination for the British. Their racial supremacy,  tendency to look upon countries like India as if they were their slaves or subordinates, lack of transparency and honesty create a big  gap between two countries. Both the british government and the British royalty have yet to tender apology for their past mistakes.  This has further angered the natives. 

The new  Crown administration after 1859 (soon after the 1857-58 rebellion) was particular about maintaining their  Imperialistic  ambition and supremacy. It resulted in the  illegal expansion of  land on one side and erection  of many colonial  statues of prominent British officials either free standing or riding a horse. They were erected purposely in public places  where nobody could miss them. The statues included many  equestrian ones cast in bronze.  Many of  the riders were the British administrators who got a name  for their administrative skills and the expenses were met through public subscription and in many cases the rich Maharajah of the princely states had to cough up the money from his coffers. this was done by them to save the remaining estate and the fancy titles bestowed on them by the British royalty.  

Until 1970s, most of these colonial statues or British names  of the streets were not removed.  In 1954, this prompted the famous US Ambassador to India Chester Bowles (1951-53),  to express  his surprise at  'how Indonesia was busy removing all statues of Dutch colonial rulers whereas in India streets were still named after British Viceroys  “Even a statue of (John) Nicholson, who led the British against Indians during the ‘mutiny,’ still stands, sword in hand,” he wrote.


Equestrian statue: 

An equestrian statue (from the Latin eques, meaning 'knight', deriving from equus, meaning 'horse') refers to a  statue with a rider on it. The horse and the rider will appear in full regalia. A statue of a riderless horse is strictly an equine statue. When it comes to casting a full-sized equestrian statue  it is not only a difficult and expensive project but also it needs lots of skill and expertise on the part of sculptor. One could see  equestrian statue  with portraits of rulers or, military commanders in the past.

 Some facts of  equestrian Statue: 

Statues of rulers are rare  in traditional Chinese until 11th century.  Even the terracotta riders have no mounted riders.  There were no free standing  statues in the ancient Egyptian, Assyrian and Persian reliefs works. 

In the Roman period equestrian statues were symbolic of military leaders and statesmen and their  leadership role and they come under the class of  equites (plural of eques) or knights.

In ancient Rome bronze statues did not survive and were subjected to melting down for reuse of the alloy as coin, church bells, or other,items.

The equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome was the only surviving Roman equestrian bronze,; destroyed in 1796 in the wake of the French Revolution.

The Middle ages saw some  equestrian statues. example: .the Bamberg Horseman in Bamberg Cathedral and  the Magdeburg Reiter, in the city of Magdeburg

Between 1415–1450  Donatello created the heroic bronze Equestrian statue of Gattamelata the condottiere, erected in Padua.

In 15th century Italy, erection of equestrian statue  became a way to  honor  successful mercenary generals.

Leonardo da Vinci, the famous Italian sculptor could not make any equestrian statue as the bronze was needed for military purpose.

The first and largest  near life-size equestrian statue was that of  Charles I of England. It was made by Hubert Le Sueur in 1633 at Charing Cross in London; later many statues followed suite.

Above image: 1852-53 Depiction of toppling  of George III's statue statue at Bowling Green (a small park) in NYC, USA  by Johannes Adam Simon Oertel. It features several ahistorical elements, including the presence of Alexander Hamilton and a fictionalized Native American family. New-York Historical Society..........

An equestrian statue of George III New York City 1770.

Above image: An equestrian statue of George III  erected in 1770  by English sculptor Joseph Wilton stood on Bowling Green in New York City was a popular one. and During the War of Independence it was  destroyed on July 9, 1776.  Ingeniously, the American patriots cut  into pieces the 4,000-pound (1,800 kg) gilded lead statue and made them into bullets  to drive the selfish British out of America. Some fragments survived and in 2016 the statue was re-created for a museum........................

Some  colonial equestrian statues of India: 

There were more than 100 equestrian statues at important cities across India and the riders were popular british officials, governors or Gov. generals holding higher offices. They were erected through public subscription in place where  the British were either active and a force to reckon with or  had their presence felt. The statues were there to remind the natives that the British had a hold on them and were the masters of the Indian subcontinent.  Till New Delhi became the capital of the Empire in 1911-12 after the greatest show on earth Delhi Durbar full of pomp and pageantry totally useless for the common Indian population,  the city of Calcutta (Kolkata) had a pride of place in the british empire with  two lines of equestrian statues on both sides of city's Red Road connecting Writers' Buildings. 

With the exception of Munroe statue in Chennai, Tamil Nau most of the colonial equestrian statues that stood as a symbol of British supremacy and imperialism were relegated to the back drop in the dark shadows of Indian state museums.

1880 Gov. Gen Lord Hardinge,Kolkata

Above image: Photograph from the Vibart Collection, of the statue of Lord Hardinge and the Ochterlony monument in Calcutta taken by an unknown photographer about 1865. He acted as Viceroy and Governor-General of India from 1910 to 1916.  During his tenure   King George V visited India to take part in the Delhi Durbar of 1911 and a few hunting trips in the jungles of Nepal.
Gov. Thomas Munroe, Chennai, Madras.

Above image:  Sir Thomas Monroe, a reputed  (27 May 1761- 6 July 1827) Scottish army man and colonial administrator  was popular among the natives. The British sculptor  was Francis Chantrey (April 1781- November 1841). Chantrey completed the  stunning  and impressive  equestrian statue in 1834  - one of the three equestrian statues sculpted by him.

Lord canning 18th Cen.

Above image: Lord Canning, 1877, Town: Barrackpore, West Bengal.  Sculptor: John Henry/Brock

questrian statue. Mark Cubbon, Bangalore 1932 picture.

Above image; The equestrian statue of Mark Cubbon (1866),  Bangalore city of Karnataka  (1866) who was the  the longest-serving Chief Commissioner of Mysore and CoorgSculptor: Italian born Carlo Marochetti  (1805–1867), one of the prolific equestrian statue makers; Shifted to Cubbon Park, officially Sri Chamarajendra Park, in June 2020.

Lord Mayo - Barrackpore ,West Bengal.

Above image : Lord Mayo: This  equestrian statue of  Barrackpore, Sculptor: Native  of England Thomas Thornycroft (1815 – 1885)