The present watercolour, completed in 1790, depicts the ruins of a palace pavilion which resides under an imposing banyan tree. The Mughal structure is in Bihar, an area of India 300 miles from Calcutta, and forms part of the seventh century complex of the Sher Shah Suri tomb which, prior to this watercolour, had never been recorded by a European artist. Daniell’s fascination with the exotic nature of both the landscape and architecture is evident, and this impressive sheet is likely to have been painted on the spot, making it one of the largest studies of its kind of an Indian view completed by a British painter of this period.
Thomas and William Daniell returned to London in September 1794, where they worked on oil paintings based on the watercolours completed on their tours of India, many of which were exhibited at the Royal Academy and British Institution. Using the present sheet, Thomas Daniell completed an oil painting of the Ruins of Naurattan in 1811, which is now at the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven.
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