James Nathaniel Rind

RIND, James Nathaniel (1793-1840)Calcutta

Lithographer. Superintendent of the Government Lithographic Press at Calcutta. Produced official maps, but also others in private partnership from 1825-1829 with George Wood, as the “Asiatic Lithographic Company”. For the work of the “Asiatic Lithographic Company”, see the entry for Wood. Also produced views, botanical and costume plates, grammars, works in Arabic, Persian, etc.

Born 16 Oct 1793 and baptised at Stirling 29 Oct 1793 — the son of Thomas Rind, a physician, and his wife Mary McNeille. He was appointed an Assistant Surgeon in the Bengal Medical Service 29 Nov 1814 and Surgeon 5 May 1826. In early 1821, he returned home for a period of rest and recuperation, his health and his hearing both in need of restoration. Before returning to India, a chance encounter in Edinburgh with Alexander Forrester (see BME 2011), with whom he had been at school, altered his subsequent career. He acquired a thorough knowledge of lithography under Forrester’s tutelage and returned to Calcutta in August 1822 with a lithographic press and all the requisite materials for its use. His proposal to establish an official press was presented to the East India Company in January 1823 and Rind became its superintendent, producing numerous maps as well as official forms, circulars, etc. Aside from his official work, Rind became a partner in the “Asiatic Lithographic Press”, run by his former assistant George Wood, in 1825. A dispute over the propriety of this double role, especially as the two presses appeared to share premises and materials, led to the dismissal of a number of workmen, including Thomas Black and George Henry Stapleton. Although Rind successfully maintained that the advantage of these arrangements accrued mainly to the government and he was acquitted of any misconduct, he was required to sever his connection with the private company. Papers relating to the dispute survive in the British Library. He married Marion Rose at Calcutta 20 Dec 1827. Rind was invalided out of the service 13 Jun 1836 and died at sea 27 Apr 1840. Probate on his estate was granted 9 Oct 1840 — will in the National Archives. The “Asiatic Lithographic Press” was later taken over by Thomas Black. His wife Marion died in London in 1844.

Asiatic Lithographic Company’s Press, Park Street, Chowringhee — 1828

BNA. NA. Graham Shaw, ‘Calcutta: birthplace of the Indian lithographed book’, in Francesca Orsini, ed., “The history of the book in South Asia” 2013.

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