"Solvyns appears as an artist of unflinching integrity and a man out of his time, international in an insular age. Here was a Dutchman with a Biblical first name of Persian origin and a passion for India, and the only European painter to venture into Calcutta's squalid and dangerous native quarter to confront his subjects face-to-face. An oddly appealing figure, there is nothing about him that you will not find in Hardgrave's massive and definitive tome."The Hindu
"A Rich mixture that illustrates the vibrancy of life in late 18th-century British India.... Highly Recommended."Choice
"Above all else, this is an enormously enjoyable book. The drawings are exquisitely reproduced, which contributes to the feeling of being carried back into that early colonial period when the Europeans still felt themselves to be part of India. But this is also a work of prodigious scholarship from which I got more than simply vicarious enjoyment. There is such strong continuity in Bengali culture over these two centuries that the past is readily recognizable from the present, and yet the pre-1857 context is never absent." Ralph W. Nicholas, President, American Institute of Indian Studies
"The Paris-trained Flemish artist Balthazar Solvyns brought an Enlightenment sensibility to India, where he spent the 1790s producing a remarkably detailed record of what Bengal looked like. Until now far less well known than such British Orientalists as Sir William Jones, Solvyns convincingly emerges here as a major eighteenth century practitioner of systematic ethnography, and the best to focus on Bengal. All of Solvyn's Bengal images are beautifully reproduced, alongside Solvyns' eccentric but valuable commentaries. A splendidly realized presentation of imaginative and thorough research by the well-known American scholar Robert Hardgrave, Jr." Francis G. Hutchins, author of The Illusion of Permanence and other books on India.