James Rennell (1742-1830)
In 1764, at the age of twenty one, Rennell was appointed surveyor-general of the East India Company's dominions in Bengal with a commission in the Bengal Engineers. He was promoted to Surveyor-General in 1767 by Major-General Robert Clive and was later employed by the first Governor-General of India, Warren Hastings. Hastings significantly increased the scope of the Indian surveying project and Rennell spent the next thirteen years surveying not only the geographical features of the continent but also gathering information about the region’s people, culture and property holdings, in order to support the collection of taxation. He retired from active service in 1777 and returned to England to work at East India House in London. He issued this map and his memoirs Memoir of a Map of Hindoostan or the Mogul Empire in 1788 and received the Copley Medal from the Royal Society in 1791 for his work on this monumental map of India. This map is dedicated to Joseph Banks and dated January 1788 - the month and year that Governor Phillip arrived in Botany Bay. Banks had accompanied Cook on his first voyage and later advocated successfully for the establishment of a British colony at Botany Bay, thus becoming known as the ‘Father of Australia’.