India collection

The stunning diversity of India’s flora and fauna is captured in over 30,000 artworks at the Natural History Museum dating from the 1750s to the 20th century. Many were created or commissioned by employees of the British East India Company at a time when it was expanding its territory across India.

Here you can browse highlights from the collection, and gain insights into the company's commercial and political interests and how the scientific classification of nature helped it to achieve success.

  • Jewel beetles watercolour in the India collection
    India collection art highlights

    View a selection of paintings showing Indian wildlife that caught the attention of East India Company employees, including eye-catching insects and plants of medicinal and economic importance.

  • Orchid, Dendrobium species, watercolour, 1848
    Art of India: Empire and the natural world  

    Find out more about the collection in this video. Discover why understanding India’s natural world was crucial to the East India Company and how plants such as tea helped to make it rich.

  • Sunoj D assembling his installation The Remains of the Soil from the Land Where the Sun Never Set
    An artist's perspective

    Watch a video about the new work that Sunoj D, a contemporary artist from India, produced in response to the India collection and find out what inspired him.

The Art of India book

The Art of India book, Images of Nature

Enjoy 200 years of beautiful Indian natural history art from the Museum's vast collection in our new book, The Art of India.

Buy The Art of India online

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