Explore the eighteenth and nineteenth-century historical and cultural context through which the Gwillims lived.

Romanticism emerges as an aesthetic and intellectual movement in opposition to Neoclassicism1760
1761The French Capital of Pondichéry falls to the British
Elizabeth Gwillim (nee Symonds) is born on April 211763
1763The Kingdom of Mysore conquers the Kingdom of Keladi
The Treaties of Hubertusburg and Paris are signed, ending the Seven Years War; Britain emerges as the world’s superpower1763
1763Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali establish their first fleet, The Mysore Navy, on the Malabar Coast
Pondichéry is returned to France, and will change hands between the French and British over the next 50 years1765
1767The First Anglo-Mysore War begins
Hetty (Hester) Symonds, Elizabeth and Mary’s sister, is born sometime this year1768
1768The Royal Academy is founded by a group of 34 artists, supported by King George III
The Treaty of Madras is signed on April 4th, marking a peace agreement between Mysore and the British East India Company1769
1769The French Crown abolishes the French East India Company
The Bengal Famine kills one third of the Bengal population1770
1772The Armenian Church of the Holy Virgin Mary is built in Madras
Mary Symonds is born on October 91772
1773The Boston Tea Party; all tea imported by the East India Company is boycotted in American Colonies
The British East India Company holds power to sell opium in Bengal1773
1775Sir Ashton Lever’s museum in London is opened
The first Anglo-Maratha War begins1775
1776American Independence is adopted through the Declaration of Independence
The East India Company sends a portrait of Nawab Muhammad Ali of Arcot to be shown in the Society of Artists’ spring exhibition1777
1780The Second Anglo-Mysore War begins
The First Anglo-Maratha War ends1782
1782William Gilpin publishes Observations on the River Wye, and Several Parts of South Wales, &c. Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty; Made in the Summer of the Year 1770, introducing the notion of the “picturesque” as an aesthetic scheme for landscapes
William Pitt signs the India Act, establishing governance of the British Government in India to help control the assertion of dominance that the East India Company held over the nation1784
1784Elizabeth Symonds and Henry Gwillim marry on May 27th
The Second Anglo-Mysore War ends1784
1785Henry and Elizabeth give birth to a daughter named Elizabeth, who dies before her first birthday
Madras’s first newspaper, The Madras Courier, is established. It is sold to the public at a price of one rupee1785
1786The first post office is established in Madras
William Petrie establishes the first observatory in the East in Madras1786
1787Henry is admitted to the Middle Temple and gets called to the Bar
Thomas Parry arrives in Madras1788
1789The French Revolution begins
The Third Anglo-Mysore War begins1790
1790The sewing machine is invented
The first Indian emigrant of the United States arrives in Massachusetts from Madras1790
1790Thomas Pennant, Welsh naturalist, publishes the illustrated book Indian Zoology
The Province of Quebec is divided into two British colonies; Upper Canada and Lower Canada1791
1791Thomas Symonds, father to Elizabeth and Mary, dies on March 12
The Madras observatory is established from William Petrie’s and is now managed by the East India Company, commencing meteorological observations1792
1792The Third Anglo-Mysore War ends. Tipu Sahib, Sultan of Mysore, is defeated by British troops
Mary Wollstonecraft publishes A Vindication of the Rights of Women1792
1793Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette are executed
The cotton gin is invented resulting in an upheaval of the cotton industry and slavery1793
1794The Government Survey School is established at Fort St. George, the largest engineering school outside of Europe
Henry Gwillim is elected as member of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce1795
1795British artists Thomas and William Daniell publish the first volume of their Oriental Scenery, a collection of lithographs of views of India
The Wallajah Mosque in Madras is built by the nawab of Karnataka1795
1796Hetty Symonds marries Richard H. James
Thomas Bewick, well known English engraver and natural history author, publishes A History of British Birds1797
1798The Fourth Anglo-Mysore War begins, lasting one year
Henry Gwillim completes a preparation of a new (fifth) edition of Matthew Bacon’s New Abridgement of the Law1798
1799The Dutch East India Company ceases operations
The first meeting of Girtin’s Sketching Club takes place1799
1801Henry, Elizabeth, and Mary move to India
The United Kingdom is formed through the merging of the Kingdom of Ireland and the Kingdom of Great Britain1801
1801Henry Gwillim is sworn as Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Madras on September 4. He also publishes Collection of Acts and Records of Parliament . . . respecting Tithes
The Treaty of Amiens is signed, forming a temporary peace between France and Great Britain1802
1802The Second Anglo-Maratha War begins
India’s population is 200 million1803
1804Napoleon Bonaparte declares himself emperor of France; Antoine Jean Gros paints Napoleon in the Plague House at Jaffa, marking the beginning of Orientalism
The world’s population reaches one billion1804
1804The Haitian Revolution ends and Haiti gains independence
The Second Anglo-Maratha War ends1805
1806Esther Symonds, mother to Elizabeth and Mary, dies on January 19
Indian Sepoys stage a mutiny against the East India Company in the city of Vellore1806
1807Elizabeth Gwillim dies on December 21 at the age of 44
Henry and Mary voyage to England1808
1809Henry Gwillim and Mary Symonds disembark at Falmouth on May 13
The Treaty of Amristar is signed by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, creating boundaries of interest for him and the East India Company1809
1809Mary Symonds marries John Ramsden on November 30
A committee of the Privacy Council makes their decision that Henry Gwillim should be removed from his judicial seat in Madras1810
1812The War of 1812 begins, lasting until 1815
Henry Gwllim remarries to Elizabeth Chilman1812
1813The Charter Act of 1813 is set in place, asserting the Crown’s sovereignty over British India
Mary and John give birth to their second son, John George Ramsden; their first son, born in 1813, died in infancy1815
1816Conclusion of the Napoleonic Wars; Pondichéry, Chandernagore, Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam and the lodges at Machilipatnam, Kozhikode and Surat are returned to France
Author Jane Austen dies1817
1817The Third Anglo-Maratha War begins and lasts for one year
Frankenstein is published by Mary Shelley1818
1820An outbreak of cholera leads to thousands of Indian citizen and British troop deaths
The first passenger locomotive makes its journey on a public line in Northern England1825
1826The world’s first photograph is taken
American naturalist John James Audubon first publishes The Birds of America1827
1833Slavery is banned throughout the British Empire
English is made the official court language of India1835
1835The first medical school in Madras is founded
The Madras Chamber of Commerce is established, the second chamber of commerce in the country1836
1837Queen Victoria I begins her reign
Lower and Upper Canada are unified1840

By Myles Browne