Aquatints showcasing Indian heritage on display in Kolkata

Kolkata, June 10 (IANS) Art connoisseurs and enthusiasts can soak in some British Raj nostalgia, courtesy an exhibition of 40 aquatints showcasing India’s heritage by 18th century English artists Thomas Daniell and William Daniell at the Victoria Memorial Hall here.

English landscape painter Thomas and his nephew William spent around nine years in India from 1785 and made extensive studies, sketches and drawings of the scenery, architecture and antiquities in both oil and aquatints.

The Victoria Memorial Hall, which has the largest collection of Daniells’ works in India, has put on display 40 aquatints from its collection of 144 hand-coloured aquatint plates from Tuesday.

“They will be on display for two months after which the digital representations will be exhibited in Gujarat and Lucknow. The present exhibition titled ‘Magnificent Heritage of India as seen by the Daniells’ includes aquatints on Kolkata, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra,” Ghulam Nabi, head of the Memorial’s documentation division, told IANS.

“This is the first time we have showcased it in an exhibition,” Nabi added.

Nabi said the duo covered the length and breadth of India in palanquins and bullock carts, on horseback, on foot and on boat, painting Oriental scenery wherever they went.

Through aquatints, a process of etching capable of producing different tones by varying the etching time of different areas of a copper plate, the artists portrayed the British image of India as a land of romance and glory.

Part of Chowringhee, Writers’ Buildings, St. John’s Church in Kolkata (then Calcutta), the Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi on Ganga, eastern gate of the Jama Masjid, Delhi, and more such Indian heritage landmarks were captured accurately by the Daniells.

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