[Volume 6] Oriental scenery. Twenty-four views in Hindoostan, taken in the years 1789 and 1790; drawn and engraved by Thomas Daniell, and, with permission, respectfully dedicated to the Honourable Court of Directors of the East India Company.

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Date: 1806

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Oriental Scenery was the great work of the Daniells, uncle and nephew, which is rightly considered the finest set of prints ever published in India. From 1765-74 they made their studies, sketches and drawings of the scenery, architecture and antiquities of India.

With sponsorship from the East India Company, Daniell travelled throughout India from 1786 to 1794, accompanied by his nephew William Daniell (1769–1837) who worked as his assistant. The 144 coloured views of Mughal and Dravidian monuments, cityscapes, mountains and waterfalls that comprised Oriental Scenery were produced with the aid of a camera obscura. These aquatints became their best-known and most successful work.

Originally published in 6 parts between 1795-1808, this costly work (200 guineas per book) was enormously influential in forming the European vision of India and the vogue for Indian inspired architecture in England, which can clearly been seen in the respective works of Repton and Nash (among others).

"From an early stage, Thomas [Daniell] seems to have set out to emulate and surpass Hodges (whose own Select views in India ... began (?) to appear in May 1785) in popularizing his views through the comparatively new medium of aquatint ... the uncle and nephew were determined not only to do better than Hodges but to expose the weaknesses of the pioneer's work by choosing the same views as Hodges had done, drawing them more accurately, and aquatinting them more skilfully. The accuracy of the work was probably greatly aided, however, by the fact that Thomas and William used a camera obscura, particularly useful, of course, for architectural subjects." (Abbey)

Contents of the plate volumes (series numbering as given in British Architectural Library, Archer, and Sutton): [series 1] Oriental scenery. Twenty-four views in Hindoostan, taken in the years 1789 and 1790 ... London, March 1, 1795 -- [series 2] Oriental scenery. Twenty-four views in Hindoostan, taken in the year 1792 ... London, August 1797 -- [series 3] Oriental scenery. Twenty-four views in Hindoostan ... London, June 1801 -- [series 4] Twenty-four landscapes (the fourth series), views in Hindoostan ... London, May, 1807 -- [series 5] Antiquities of India. Twelve views from the drawings of Thomas Daniell ... London, Oct. 15, 1799. Printed by T. Bensley, Bolt Court Fleet Street, 1800 -- [series 6] Hindoo excavations, in the mountain of Ellora, near Aurungabad, in the Decan, in twenty-four views ... London, June 1, 1804.

Volume 1 published by Robert Bowyer for Thomas Daniell; v. 2-6 published by Thomas Daniell himself. A volume of letterpress description was issued with each part, the titles differing in minor details from that of the engraved titles. Letterpress volumes printed by Thomas Bensley.

With 150 aquatint illustrations (including six engraved title pages, one for each volume). For a full description of the plates, see Abbey. Plates engraved by Thomas and William Daniell after designs by themselves (series 1-5) and by James Wales (series 6). Plates 13-24 of series 5 were issued in 1808. Plates 1-3 and plates 15-16 of series 6 are connected to form panoramic views. Cf. statements on individual plates.

This work was re-printed between 1812-1816. The plates in this edition were carefully reduced and copied from the large folio edition published between 1795 and 1808. 6 parts in 2 volumes. Oblong 4to (250 x 350 mm). Text volume bound in nineteenth-century green morocco by Zaehnsdorf, covers with French fillet frame with dentelle-roll, central frame of overlapping red morocco onlay straps gilt enclosing central panel with polychrome morocco onlay corner-pieces gilt representing the four seasons, the central panel of the front covers gilt-lettered with title and stamped with the Derby device, spines gilt in six compartments, two with red morocco labels, pink moire silk linings, gilt dentelles, gilt edges; extremities rubbed.

(plate volumes): 6 volumes : illustrations, plans ; 80 cm, (letterpress volumes): 6 volumes ; 22-24 cm

References:

Abbey Travel 420; Sutton 13; Tooley 172; Franklin pp28-29; Prideaux pp94, 244; Bobins I 232 & Bobins III 1106.

Archer, M. Early views of India : the picturesque journeys of Thomas and William Daniell 1786-1794, p. 234-235

British Architectural Library. Early printed books, 1478-1840, 799-804.

Sutton, T. The Daniells : artists and travellers, p. 156-157

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