Aquatints of India by Thomas Daniell & William Daniell
The Taj Mahal Palace, Colaba, 09 October – 11 December Monday to Sunday, 11 am – 7 pm
The series of aquatint prints known as Oriental Scenery represent the single largest and most impressive project by English artists to depict Indian architecture and landscape. Thomas Daniell (1749-1840) and his nephew William Daniell (1769-1837) travelled extensively in India between 1786 and 1793. On their return to Britain they produced many paintings, drawings and prints based on the sketches they had made while travelling. The aquatints were issued in pairs between March 1795 and December 1808. Subscribers who purchased all of them could assemble them into six volumes, each with 24 prints, making up a total of 144 – of which half are shown here.
The aquatints are arranged in this exhibition in geographical sequence, following the itinerary of their travels. Going through the exhibition, we travel with the Daniells, first from Calcutta, across the Gangetic plain to Delhi; then up into the hills of Garhwal, before retracing the route back via Lucknow to Calcutta; then setting out from Madras in a large loop though what is now Tamil Nadu; and finally to Bombay, to explore the rock-cut temples of western India. Though the Daniells selected some sites because of their topical associations for British audiences, none of the wars and disturbances of their time are depicted. Instead, we are given an image of India as a tranquil land, strewn with the relics of once great civilisations.