View full screen - View 1 of Lot 62. The South-East View of Bijaigarh, Uttar Pradesh.

Property from the collection of JE Safra

William Daniell, R.A.

The South-East View of Bijaigarh, Uttar Pradesh

Auction Closed

July 6, 10:38 AM GMT


200,000 - 300,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from the collection of JE Safra

William Daniell, R.A.

Kingston upon Thames 1769 - 1837 London

The South-East View of Bijaigarh, Uttar Pradesh

Watercolour over pencil within a black-lined border, cut;

signed with intitals, inscribed and dated on a detached mount: South East View of BIDZEY GHUR Bahar. / Jany 8. 1790 W.D. delt

473 by 600 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 31 (£82,000),
where acquired by the present owner  
M. Archer, Early Views of India - The Picturesque Journeys of Thomas and William Daniell 1786-1794, London 1980, p. 101;
G. Moorhouse, India Britannica, London 1983, p. 61;
M. Jacobs, The Painted Voyage: Art, Travel and Exploration 1564-1875, London 1995, p. 62;
Christie's, Review of the Year 1996, p. 51 (a record auction price for a watercolour by the artist);
G. Michell, Voyage en Inde: deux cents ans de patrimoine architectural et topographique en Inde/Aquatintes de Thomas et William Daniell, Paris 1998, pp. 2, 15 & 20
London, Commonwealth Institute, The Daniells in India 1786-1793, 1960, no. 59;
Washington, Smithsonian Institution, The Daniells in India 1786-1793, 1962, no. 26;
London, Spink & Son, Artist Adventures in eighteenth century India: Thomas and William Daniell, 1974, no. 46;
Preston, Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Fine Material for a Dream, 1992, no. 21 

In this celebrated watercolour, William Daniell shows himself peering through a telescope, looking up towards the hill fort of Bijaigarh. To his left, his uncle, Thomas Daniell, sits with his drawing board on his knees. In between the two artists lies a contented looking dog, while to their left, attendants rig up an awning to protect the party from the fierce Indian heat. As an image of the intrepid artist working in the field, the present watercolour is hard to beat.

The fortress of Bijaigarh lies to the south of Benares (modern day Varanesi) surrounded by hills and semi-jungle woodland. In his diary, William Daniell describes how the two artists were excited to explore the area but were also nervous, having been told that tigers and wolves inhabited the region. 

The watercolour was painted on 8 January 1790, when the Daniells were in the midst of the epic fifty-month sketching tour, which they undertook between September 1788 and November 1791. This journey – the first of three comprehensive expeditions around India - would see them cover great tracts of land, from their 'home' in Calcutta to the foothills of the Himalayas at Srinagar, all this undertaken with the express goal of recording the great architectural and natural gems of the country.

When the Daniells finally returned home to England in 1794, they had been aboard for nearly a decade. The folios of drawings and watercolours which they carried with them became vital sources of inspiration, available for them to tap into at will when considering a subject for an oil painting or for their iconic series of lithographs: Oriental Scenery, which was published in six parts between 1795 and 1808.1

1. See: London, Sotheby’s, 18 May 2022, lot 53 (£315,000)