• The European Factories and Dutch Folly Fort, Canton from the south-west side of the Canton River, China -
    Price on request

    Inscribed verso: S West View of Canton

    Grey washes over pencil on laid Whatman paper

    28.6 by 52.4 cm., 11 ¼ by 20 ½ in.


    Anon. sale, Christie's, South Kensington, 15 Oct. 2009, lot 35

    Thomas Daniell and his young nephew William visited China twice on their way to and from India in 1785 and 1793, respectively. The first leg of their passage to Calcutta was aboard the Indiaman Atlas which left them at Whampoa in August 1785. They remained in China until the following spring and visited Macao and Canton. On their return they are recorded in as being in Canton between September 1793 and March 1794 when they joined Lord Macartney’s convoy, returning to England following his embassy to Ch'ien Lung in 1792, over the punitive tariff charges that were charged by the Imperial Government.


    The Daniells' Chinese pictures, worked up from their many sketches taken on the China coast in the 1780s and '90s, form the earliest major western pictorial record of China. Thomas Daniell's view of Canton shows the hongs on the waterfront, the focus of trade between China and the West, as they were in 1785, just one year after the Americans ('second-chop Englishmen' as distinguished by the Chinese) were granted an independent concession.


    The West’s trade with China began in the early sixteenth century, with the Portuguese establishing trading posts or 'factories' at Ningpo, Foochow, Amoy, Canton and Macao. Other European nations followed, with the British being granted a charter to trade in 1600. However, China maintained tight controls over trade and foreign visitors were only allowed limited access. They were granted narrow strips of land 1000 ft long and about 400 feet wide, outside the walls of Canton, along the bank of the Pearl River. Here they were allowed to build their warehouses and offices. They had to deal with a small group of Imperial sanctioned merchants, and the foreigners were only allowed to stay in Canton during a set trading season. Only men were allowed in the factories, their families had to reside in nearby Macao. The ones visible in the present drawing are the (in order from left to right) American, Swedish, British and Dutch compounds. The East India Company first established a site on the riverside at Canton in 1684 and by the time of the Daniells' visit in the mid-1780s, they dominated the trade.


    This drawing is a study from which Daniell painted a large oil, which was formerly in the collection of Guardian Assurance and sold at Christie’s in 1999. The same subject was engraved in T. Daniell, R.A. and W. Daniell, A.R.A., A Picturesque Voyage to India by Way of China, London, 1810, pl.32 ('South West View of Canton').

  • The Rope Bridge, Srinagar, India -

    inscribed on the original mount: THE ROPE BRIDGE AT SIRINAGUR, OVER THE ALUCNINDRA, THE PRINCIPAL BRANCH OF THE RIVER GANGES and further inscribed lower right: Taken at the time of the evacuation of the/City in consequence of the approach of/a large Army from Almorah in the/Year 1789


    watercolour over pencil with pen and brown ink on laid Whatman paper

    58.4 by 77.5cm., 23 by 30 1/2 inches


    Thomas Daniell and his nephew William were among the first professional artists to visit India and their works, in watercolour and oil, are important documentation of the Indian countryside at the period. They arrived in India in 1785 and remained until 1793. The present watercolour originates from events they witnessed on 28th April 1789 at the siege of Srinagar in the North Indian kingdom of Garhwal. William noted in his diary: `in consequence of the foresaid news [of imminent attack] the inhabitants of Srinagar were crossing the river as quick as possible, they crowded on the bridge so fast that we thought at times it would have broke.?


    This watercolour was engraved for the Daniell?s most famous publication, Oriental Scenery, published between 1795 and 1808 and accompanying text elaborates on the subject: ?The river here is too rapid to be passed, even by boats and therefore the bridge of ropes.... offered the only means for the Rajah and his people to effect their retreat, which circumstances presented an affecting scene.... This bridge, which is 240 feet in length, is an ingenious contrivance, and so simple that it may be soon erected and soon removed.?


    Three oil paintings of this subject are recorded. One in the Victoria Memorial Museum, Calcutta, another in the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven and the third in the India Office Library collection (see Maurice Shellim, Oil paintings of India and the East by Thomas Daniell and William Daniell, 1979, TD20, TD43 and TD64)



    The Collection of the P. &O. Steam Navigation Company, their sale, Christie?s, 24th September 1996, lot 64, bt. by the present owner for ?50,000



    London, Commonwealth Institute, The Daniells in India 1786-1793, 26th August ? 25th September 1960, no.46;

    Washington, Smithsonian Institution, The Daniells in India, November 1962, no.20;

    London, Spinks, Adventurers in Eighteenth Century India: Thomas and William Daniell, 12th ? 29th November 1974, no.21



    By Thomas and William Daniell as an aquatint engraving for Oriental Scenery, 1805, vol. IV, no.23


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