View of the Esplanade, Calcutta before 1800
Title View of the Esplanade, Calcutta before 1800
Accession Number R2856
Museum Name Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
Gallery Name NA
Object Type Painting
Medium Oil on Canvas
Main Artist Attributed to Thomas Daniell (1749-1840)
Artist's Nationality British
Artist's Life Date / Bio Data Thomas Daniell (1749-1840), English landscape painter, was born at the Chertsey inn, kept by his father, in 1749, and apprenticed to an heraldic painter. Daniell, however, was animated with a love of the romantic and beautiful in architecture and nature. Up to 1784 he painted topographical subjects and flower pieces. By this time his two nephews (see below) had come under his influence, the younger, Samuel, being apprenticed to Medland the landscape engraver, and the elder, William, being under his own care. In this year (1784) he embarked for India accompanied by William, and found at Calcutta ample encouragement. Here he remained ten years, and on returning to London he published his largest work, Oriental Scenery, in six large volumes, not completed till 1808. From 1795 till 1828 he continued to exhibit Eastern subjects, temples, jungle hunts, &c., and at the same time continued the publication of illustrated works. These are - Views of Calcutta; Oriental Scenery, 144 plates; Views in Egypt; Excavations at Ellora; Picturesque Voyage to China. These were for the most part executed in aquatint. He was elected an Academician in 1799, fellow of the Royal Society about the same time, and at different times member of several minor societies. His nephews both died before him; his Indian period had made him independent, and he lived a bachelor life in much respect at Kensington till his death on the 19th of March 1840.
Provenance David Minlore, London.
Period / Year of Work 1785
Dimensions 69.8x107.9cm
Brief Description This painting depicts the river Hooghly and the buildings of Calcutta, soon to become a leading colonial metropolis in the 19th-century world. The many sailboats and ships indicate vibrant economic activities. In the right foreground, some Europeans are seen engrossed in fishing.
Detailed Description The Calcutta buildings are in the right background. Sir William Foster says: "It is mainly a view of the Maidan and Esplanade, from the other side of river, but shows the main part of the city away on the left. I could not see the dome of the new Government House. Fort William is the most conspicuous object, so I should put the date a little before 1800. Possibly it is a Daniell."