Thomas Daniell R.A., (British, 1749-1840) A South-East view of Fort St. George, Madras, a storm approaching 71 x 91 cm. (28 x 36 in.)

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Lot 38
Thomas Daniell R.A.,
(British, 1749-1840)
A South-East view of Fort St. George, Madras, a storm approaching 71 x 91 cm. (28 x 36 in.)

Sold for £ 81,260 (US$ 108,732) inc. premium
Thomas Daniell R.A., (British, 1749-1840)
A South-East view of Fort St. George, Madras, a storm approaching
oil on canvas
71 x 91 cm. (28 x 36 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    The Rt. Hon. Warren Hastings (1732-1818).
    Charles E. Baring Young (d. 1932).
    The Kingham Hill Trust.
    Sotheby’s sale, 22nd November 1967, lot 65.
    Frank T. Sabin.
    The current owners.

    The above work can be dated to between 1795 and 1800 and was probably a private commission for Hastings as it does not appear to have been exhibited. The date can also be supported as the oil shows Madras as it stood prior to 1795, the Daniells prided themselves on their accuracy and would have updated the view if it were a later work.

    The above work is similar to the view of the same title that was published in aquatint in September 1797 as plate VII, volume II in the series ‘Oriental Scenery’.

    Another version was exhibited at the Royal Academy, London in 1833, no. 347. This work was also based on the 1797 aquatint but Daniell made certain topographical changes to the Madras skyline to take into account the development of the town.

    Thomas Daniell embarked for India with his cousin William in 1784, they travelled through the sub-continent until their return to England in 1793. In London, from 1795 to 1808 they then produced the series of 144 aquatints ‘Oriental Scenery’ that were to cement their fame and reputation as artists.

    The Daniells reached Madras on 29th March 1792 and left again on 9 April, only 11 days after landing. William notes in his diaries that he and his uncle secured the services of an extensive retinue: two palanquins, each with bearers, two horses with grooms, a bullock cart, three pack-bullocks to carry tents and baggage, seven bearers to carry provisions, two porters to carry the drawing tables and a staff of personal servants. They visited the town again in January 1793, leaving in February of the same year.

    Madras was not a natural harbour and ships had to anchor a long distance from the coast and passengers were transported over the bar (sandbank) in small flat bottomed boats called massoolas. The anchorage was particularly susceptible to cyclonic storms from the Bay of Bengal and landing here was especially dangerous, many would remember their arrival in Madras as the most perilous part of their journey.

    We are grateful to Jerry Losty for his assistance with the above catalogue entry.

    Literature;
    M. Shellim, Oil Paintings of India and the East by Thomas Daniell and William Daniell, London, Inchcape and Co., 1979, pg 46., Shellim cat. no. TD26
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