Thomas Daniell, R.A. (1749-1840)
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Thomas Daniell, R.A. (1749-1840)

The Hermit Kanwa discovering the sleeping Shakuntala on the banks of the River Malanee

Details
Thomas Daniell, R.A. (1749-1840)
The Hermit Kanwa discovering the sleeping Shakuntala on the banks of the River Malanee
signed and dated 'Daniell/1817' (lower left)
oil on canvas
38½ x 53 in. (98 x 135 cm.)
Provenance
with Appleby Brothers, London.
Anon. sale, Christie's, London, 21 March 1969, lot 81, unsold.
Literature
M. Shellim, Oil Paintings of India and the East by Thomas Daniell, R.A. (1749-1840) and William Daniell, R.A. (1769-1837), London, 1979, p. 86, TD92, illustrated.
Exhibited
London, Royal Academy, 1817, no. 61.
Special notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

The subject was taken from Sir Charles Wilkins' translation of part of the Mahabharata epic, P. Wingrave, 1795 which had
originally appeared in the Oriental Repertory published by Dalrymple, 1793-94. According to the epic, Shakuntala, the child of the heavenly dancing girl, Menaka, by the sage Vishvamitra, was abandoned by her mother on the banks of the River Malanee. 'Certain birds of prey called Sakoontas, perceiving an infant lying asleep in the midst of those uninhabited wilds, the haunt of lions and tigers, guarded around, lest those beasts of prey, which are greedy of flesh, should devour it.' He took the infant up and carried her to his abode where he reared her up as if she had been her own daughter. (Wilkins, op. cit. pp. 40-41).

The Mahabharata was composed between 300 BC and 300 AD and is the longest epic in world literature, three times as long as the Bible. The picture is significant as evidence of British interest in translations of Sanskrit literature in the early 19th century. It is the only scene from the Mahabharata by the Daniells to have been recorded.
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