Of Art in Archives
Malvika Maheshwari
-- by B.N. Goswamy Niyogi Books, New Delhi, 2014, 204 pp., 6000
April 2014, volume 38, No 4

Observing, embodying and document- ing these moments of transition and experiencing India in all its splendour and unfamiliarity were English painters Thomas Daniell and William Daniell. Thomas, the senior of the two, was born in 1749 and after struggling for some years as a painter in England, ‘animated with a love of the romantic and the beautiful,’ decided to set sail for India in search of the picturesque as well as some patrons. Accompanied by his fifteen-year-old pupil and nephew, William, he landed in Calcutta in 1786 and spent the next eight years ‘traversing the land and painting, from eastern parts to the plains of Delhi and Agra and back, and then to the south of India.’ Their travels culminated in one of the finest illustrated volumes of the period—Oriental Scenery, comprising of ‘twenty-four views in Hindoostan’, which included historical sites, ruins, religious places, nature among others.

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