View full screen - View 1 of Lot 68. The Kotwali Gate, Gaur, Bengal.

Property of a gentleman

Thomas Daniell, R.A. and William Daniell, R.A.

The Kotwali Gate, Gaur, Bengal

Auction Closed

July 6, 10:38 AM GMT


60,000 - 80,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property of a gentleman

Thomas Daniell, R.A. and William Daniell, R.A.

Kingston-upon-Thames 1749 - 1840 London & Kingston-upon-Thames 1769 - 1837 London

The Kotwali Gate, Gaur, Bengal

Watercolour over pencil;

inscribed on the artist's original mount The Kutwallee Gate Gour, further inscribed and number verso: N. 59. The Kutwallee Gate Gour

554 by 556 mm

By descent in the artist's family until after 1840;
The Bromley-Davenport family of Capesthorne Hall, Cheshire,
by family descent until sold to Stevens & Brown of Godalming, 1951,
by whom sold to Messrs. Gooden & Fox, London, 10 September 1951,
by whom sold to The Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, 1952,
their sale, London, Christie's, 24 September 1996, lot 1 (£24,000),
where acquired by the present owner  
London, Commonwealth Institute, The Daniells in India 1786-1793, 1960, no. 82;
Washington D.C., Smithsonian Institution, The Daniells in India 1786-1793, 1962, no. 43;
London, Spink & Son, Artist Adventurers in eighteenth Century India, Thomas and William Daniell, 1974, no. 69

Thomas and William Daniell visited Gaur in the autumn of 1791 in the company of their friend Samuel Davis (1760-1819), with whom they had been staying at Bhagalpur since late 1790. The Daniells were soon to return to Calcutta and were at the end of their epic three-year journey which had seen them explore large tracks of northern of India.

Gaur was the capital of Bengal under its ancient Hindu kings and after 1200 under Muslim rulers. It flourished until the 15th century, when most of the surviving monuments were built. Disaster struck, however, in 1575 when plague devastated the local population. The city was abandoned and over time the jungle began to reclaim it. Today it stands on the frontier between India and Bangladesh.

The Daniells chose to depict the Kotwali Darwaza, a splendid gate in the city’s south wall. The present watercolour served as the basis for an engraving in The Oriental Annual of 1835, and the accompanying text recalls the Daniell’s visit: ‘Nothing scarcely remains of the old city, except a few solemn ruins. One of the gateways is still a magnificent object; it is a noble piece of architecture and majestic even in decay. It originally formed one of the principal entrances into the town. The arch is upwards of fifty feet high, and the wall of immense thickness. The ravages of time are indeed fearfully visible upon it, but it nevertheless appears likely to stand for centuries. This neighbourhood swarms with vermin and reptiles of all kinds, and only two days before our arrival, a boa snake, two-and twenty feet long, had been killed close by the old gateway'.1

1. T. Daniell & W. Daniell, The Oriental Annual, 1835, p. 244