View from the Cave, Elephanta Temple, India

View from the Cave, Elephanta Temple, India



John Sell Cotman (1782-1842)
View from the Cave, Elephanta Temple, India

Watercolour over traces of pencil heightened with touches of bodycolour
12.8 by 21.6 cm., 5 by 8 ½ in.

This watercolour dates from 1833-34 and is based on an on-the-spot sketch by Commander Robert Elliot, R.N. (1790-1849). Elliot was a naval officer and his sketches in India and the Far East from 1822-24 were copied by professional artists such as Cotman, Cox, Purser, Prout, Allom, Stanfield and Boys and published as engravings in `Views in India, China, and on the Shores of the Red Sea' in 1834/35.

This watercolour was not in fact engraved but a watercolour by William Purser entitled `Entrance of the Cave Temple of Elephanta' was. A view by Cotman of `Perawa, Malawa' was engraved for the book however and the original watercolour which is slightly smaller than the present work is in the Victoria and Albert Museum (8-1875). Another unused Indian view by Cotman, `The Tomb of Hyder Ali Khan, Rajah of Mysore' is in the Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston.

We are grateful to Tim Wilcox for confirming the attribution to Cotman.