The British began to establish overseas colonies in the 16th century. By 1783 Britain had a large empire, with colonies in America and the West Indies. This 'first British Empire' came to an end after the American Revolution. However, in the 19th century, the British built a second worldwide empire, India, based on British sea-power and huge conquests in Africa.
At its height in 1922, the British Empire governed a fifth of the world’s population and a quarter of the world’s total land area.
This colonisation had a profound effect on artists and last year's exhibition - Artist and Empire at Tate Britain - displayed some 200 paintings, drawings, sculptures and artefacts spanning more than 400 years, from the 16th century to the present.
We discovered a few artefacts at Grays associated with The British Empire.
|Doulton Lambethware depicting General Gordon. Gordon was a British Army officer and administrator. He saw action in the Crimean War as an officer in the British Army. Available from Leon's Militaria.|
|Cold cast bronze of Winston Churchill. Available from Leon's Militaria.|
|Admiral Lord Nelson jug, Staffordshire Pottery, c1840s. Available from Leon's Militaria.|
|Duke of Wellington jug, Staffordshire Pottery, c1850s. Available from Leon's Militaria.|
|Meat paste jar depicting the Crimean War, Prattware, c1850s. Available from Leon's Militaria.|
|Bronze East Indian soldier, 18-19th century. Available from Peter Sloane.|