Thomas Metcalf. Imperial Connections: India in the Indian Ocean Arena, 1860-1920 (Review)

Harrison, Pegram (2008) Thomas Metcalf. Imperial Connections: India in the Indian Ocean Arena, 1860-1920 (Review). Enterprise and Society, 9 (3). pp. 537-539.


Here is an imperial connection: Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe (with an “e”), 4th Baronet, served as agent of the Governor-General of British India at the court of the Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah. This was in the years immediately preceding the period of this book by the nearly eponymous Thomas Metcalf (no “e”), Professor of History Emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley. The similarity of names is a coincidence, but the two Toms share a complexity of interest and range of reference in their representations of mid-nineteenth-century India. In addition to his administrative and political work, Sir Thomas bequeathed the world a fabulous collection of over one hundred paintings by Indian artists, the Delhi Book, now in the British Library—a great treasure of images from a period when the British commercial presence in India intermingled with local cultures in ways that rapidly changed after the rebellion of 1857 and a substantial hardening of British political control. Similarly, Professor Thomas has used visual sources to explore the relationships and structures of influence that men like Sir Thomas helped to form in the mid-nineteenth century, by examining Indian architecture and Britain's Raj (An Imperial Vision, 2002). Now, the Professor has given the world a different view of imperial India that embraces several emerging trends in historiography and offers innovative perspectives on the economic history of the Indian Ocean region.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Book review; Metcalf
Subject(s): Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2012 17:38
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2018 10:23

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