Artist Howard Hodgkin, pictured in front of the British Council headquarters in New Delhi ©

Charles Correa Foundation

To celebrate British Council's 70th anniversary in India, we organised a special exhibition and talk by Antony Peattie about the iconic banyan tree mural on the British Council Delhi building's façade, created by late British artist Howard Hodgkin.

Inspired by India: The Howard Hodgkin Story told the story of Howard Hodgkin's India inspiration, exploring the relationship between him and architect Charles Correa who designed the British Council Delhi building. It also showcased how Hodgkin and Correa's work made a statement about UK and India collaboration by bringing art and achitecture together, and went on to be regarded as a source of inspiration for both UK and India.

Held in Chennai, Mumbai, and Delhi, the heavily illustrated talk by Antony Peattie explored the origins of the mural, how Howard Hodgkin and Charles Correa worked together, the journey from proposed design to final realization, the technique and its origin in pietra dura inlay on Moghul buildings, its relation to Howard’s work in theatre design and his paintings and prints on the theme of trees, as well as the inspiration of India. 

About Antony Peattie

Antony Peattie is a distinguished music writer from the UK. He was publications editor at Welsh National Opera, before leaving to help launch Opera Now magazine, and then going freelance, creating Opera Bites for Glyndebourne, surtitles for Scottish Opera and supertitles for the Royal Opera. Antony Peattie was Howard Hodgkin’s partner for 33 years, and has lectured on Howard’s work in Romania, on opera on BBC Radio 3 and on Byron at the National Portrait Gallery and Tate Britain. He has written extensively on opera and his book The Private Life of Lord Byron will be published by Unbound in 2019.