Introduction The 19 th century was a period of expansion and development in Canadian history. The century brought unprecedented change, from the Union of Upper and Lower Canada and the Confederation of the Canadian colonies, to the establishment of the western provinces. Fortifications and other military structures were erected and roads and railway networks constructed, ushering in waves of immigration as colonization and settlement pushed westward. In its wake the face of the Canadian landscape was altered, and to some extent the vast wilderness was diminished. In the era before the camera, artists, surveyors and engineers preserved on paper and canvas a record of the landscape.
This illustrated manuscript made in southern India in 1837 consists of 72 full-color hand-painted images of men and women of the various castes and religious and ethnic groups found in Madura, India at that time. Each drawing was made on mica, a transparent, flaky mineral which splits into thin, transparent sheets. As indicated on the presentation page, the album was compiled by the Indian writing master at an English school established by American missionaries in Madura, and given to the Reverend William Twining. The manuscript shows Indian dress and jewelry adornment in the Madura region as they appeared before the onset of Western influences on South Asian dress and style.