William Hodges, R.A. (1744-1797)
William Hodges, R.A. (1744-1797)

Port Louis, Mauritius

William Hodges, R.A. (1744-1797)
Port Louis, Mauritius
oil on canvas
19½ x 27¼in. (49.6 x 69.2cm.)

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Lot Essay

Given here to William Hodges (and we are grateful to Charles Greig for suggesting the attribution), the present picture bears an old attribution to William Daniell. It may then be the rogue Mauritius picture Sutton mentioned in his work on the Daniells, as being evidence of the Daniells stopping at Mauritius on their return from India: 'An oil-painting by William of Port St. Louis (sold in London in 1937) seems to indicate that they stopped in Mauritius. ...' (T. Sutton, The Daniells, Artists and Travellers, London, 1954, p.85).

There is another version of this picture, an oil on paper of similar size, seemingly a later finished version, in the HSBC collection. This was previously with Richard Green, where incorrectly attributed to the French marine painter A.L. Garneray, for which see G.H.R. Tillotson, Fan Kwae Pictures, The Hongkong Bank Art Collection, London, 1987, p.128, no.143 (as Garneray).

Charles Greig has suggested the subject and style indicates the picture derives from Hodges's voyage back from India in 1785.

The Dutch claimed the uninhabited island in the Indian Ocean in 1598, naming it for their head of state, Maurice, Prince of Orange and Count of Nassau, but attempts to colonise the island through the 17th century failed. It was claimed by the French East India Company in 1715 and renamed Ile de France, with Port Louis the base for French attacks on the British in India. The Company sold the island in 1767 and control of the island transferred to the French government, until Abercrombie's forces took Mauritius in 1810.

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