William Tayler held various jobs in the Bengal Civil Service beginning in 1829, and was known in the expatriate community as a skillful portrait painter and caricaturist. Six of his works (including the print offered above) were published in London in 1842 as a set of lithographs under the title Sketches Illustrating the Manner & Customs of the Indians and Anglo Indians. Tayler’s civil service career ended with the Mutiny of 1857, when, as he drily wrote, “I was the Commissioner of Patna, and as a reward and recompense for saving the most important province of Bengal, was dismissed from my appointment with disgrace.” Although he had many supporters in the British military, Parliament and press for his handling of the crisis, he never succeeded in regaining his post. He started his own legal agency and worked as a legal advocate in the Bengal courts until his return to England in 1867. Later he published a two-volume memoir with 100 of his own illustrations, Thirty-eight Years in India (1881-82) and the book Justice in the Nineteenth Century (1885).
Thomas McLean (1788-1875) owned a printing firm publishing a range of works during the mid 19th century, especially humor, satire and political caricatures, as separately issued prints and in periodicals such as the Monthly Sheet of Caricatures. McLean published and sold collections of humorous illustrations by Henry Alken, George Cruikshank and Edward Lear, as well as portraits and collections of landscape prints such as J.D. Harding’s The Park and the Forest (1841). Britain’s National Portrait Gallery has at least 195 portrait prints published by McLean.
Full publication information: Anglo Indians. The Young Civilians Toilet. Drawn by W. Tayler Esq’r. Bengal Civil Service. Litho. by J. Bouvier. Published Feb’y 1st 1842. for the Proprietor by T. McLean 26, Haymarket. Printed at the Gen’l Lith’c Estab’t 70 St. Martins lane.
Condition: Original colors bright. Professionally cleaned, with very faint toning from former mat, and one restored marginal tear; margins nonetheless ample and these can be matted out.
Abbey, J.R. Travel in Aquatint and Lithography 1770-1860 from the Library of J.R. Abbey. 2 Vol. London: Curwen Press, 1956-57. p. 465, pls. 1-6.
Tayler, William. Thirty-eight Years in India: from Juganath to the Himalaya Mountains. London: W.H. Allen & Co., 1881-82. Online at Archive.org. http://www.archive.org/stream/cu31924021024835#page/n0/mode/2up (22 September 2011).
“Thomas McLean.” National Portrait Gallery. 21 April 2005. http://www.npg.org.uk/live/search/person.asp?LinkID=mp62465&role=art (18 November 2010).
Wheeler, Stephen Edward. Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Vol. 55. Online at Wikisource: http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Tayler,_William_(DNB00) (22 September 2011).