James Wales was drawing the rock temples of Ellora in Maharashtra ca. 1793. After his death in 1795 his drawings passed to Sir Charles Warre Malet, who married Wales's daughter Susanna in 1799. Malet asked Thomas Daniell to engrave and publish the drawings, and possibly subsidized their publication. The word 'excavations' in the title refers not to archaeological excavations but to the fact that the temples were cut out of the rock.

There are thirty-four major caves in the Ellora group - containing sculptures created between the 6th and 9th century A.D. following the iconography of the Buddhists (caves 1-12), Hindus (caves 14-29) or Jains (caves 30-34). The most celebrated cave is that containing the Kailasa Temple, dedicated to Shiva (cave 16). Although Daniell gives the whole set of plates the title 'Hindoo Excavations', he includes views of the Buddhist shrines (pl. XX, XXI, XXIV) and Jain shrines (pl. IV-VIII).

The publication-date of June 1st 1803, given on the title-plate, is repeated on all twenty-four numbered plates. (The British Library India Office Library holds a further set of eight views of rock-cut temples, all carrying the date of July 1 1803.) On the title-page of the accompanying letter-press booklet, the title is given as on the title-plate of the set of plates, but the publication-date is given as 'June I, 1804'.

All numbered plates are signed as drawn by James Wales and as engraved by and under the direction of Thomas Daniell. The title-plate is unsigned. Each numbered plate carries the publisher's imprint of Thomas Daniell (and the date of publication). In the letter-press volume the printer is named on the t.p. verso and in the colophon: 'T. Bensley, Printer, Bolt Court, Fleet Street.' Daniell's dedicatee, Sir Charles Warre Malet, was the father-in-law of the draughtsman James Wales.

One volume of hand-colored aquatints plates and one volume of text; 732 mm. (Broadsheet) [plates] and 219 mm. (Octavo) [text].

[1], XXIV leaves of plates : all. col. ill. ; 59 x 80 cm.


Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, I (1994), no. 804; M. Archer, Early views of India: the picturesque journeys of Thomas and William Daniell, 1786-1794: the complete aquatints (1980); Travel in aquatint and lithography, 1770-1860, from the library of J.R. Abbey: a bibliographical catalogue (1952), p.375-6; C. W. Malet, 'Description of the caves or excavations, on the mountain about a mile to the eastward of the town of Ellora', in Asiatic Researches, 6 (1801), p.389-423. On the Daniells and on British artists in India see the note on Thomas Daniell's 'Oriental Scenery'.

Publisher: London : [Thomas Daniell], 1803.




Getty Research Institute

ISBN-10: N/A

Date Added: 2019-07-18

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