DANIELL, Thomas.
[Views in Calcutta.]

Published
[Calcutta: 1786-88.]
References
Abbey Travel 492; Archer, p.12; Foster, p.21; Sutton, pp. 20-23; Bobins 231.
Plates
12
Binding/Size
L=FOLIO
Value
$25,001-100,000
Ref
5526

FIRST EDITION. Oblong folio, 12 hand coloured aquatint views, loose as issued, without title or text, trimmed to within half an inch of the image and mounted on museum board; mounts on guards, modern half navy morocco, with matching label to upper board, and matching silk endpapers. A RARE SET OF PLATES. Daniel was probably teaching himself the new art of aquatint engraving when he undertook these views, which were hand coloured by local artists under his supervision. When he finished the twelve plates in Nov 1788 he wrote to Ozias Humphry "The Lord be praised, at length I have finished my twelve views of Calcutta. The fatigue I have experienced in this undertaking has almost worn me out.....It will appear a very poor performance in your land, I fear. You must look upon it as a Bengalee work. You know I was obliged to stand Painter, Engraver, Coppersmith, Printer and Printers Devil myself, it was a devilish undertaking but I was determined to see it through at all events" (Abbey). The first announcement of this work came only a few months after the Daniells reached India, in the form of an advertisement in the Calcutta Chronicle of 17th July 1786. In May the following year, an announcement stated, "Mr. Daniell has completed six of the views and will deliver impressions as soon as is possible". Sutton remarks that although classed as aquatints by all his contemporaries, Daniells' plates are more nearly etchings, with some crude attempts at aquatinting, and what appears to be actual scraping of the plates. The attempt to apply aquatint may have been partly dictated by Thomas's desire to rival and outstrip Hodges, (see Bobins entry # 5513) whose 'Select Views' in aquatint probably began to appear in England in the May of 1785. Copies of the first part therefore could have reached Calcutta before the Daniells' arrival.

Plates have no captions, and few numbers.

Coloured plates in no particular order:

1. [The Old Fort, the Playhouse, Holwell's Monument.]
2. [The Old Court House and Writer's Buildings.]
3. [Part of the Old Tank.]
4. Gentoo Pagoda and House.]
5. The New Court House and Chandpam Ghaut.]
6. The Old Fort Ghaut.]
7. [The New Buildings at Chouringhee.]
8. [Calcutta from the River Hoogly; Gentoo Buildings.]
9. [Old Court House and Street looking South.]
10. [Esplanade Row and Council House.]
11. [Old Government House.]
12. [St. John's Church.]