21 September 2000
Thomas Daniell, R.A. (1749-1840)
View of Panchganga Ghat, Benares
oil on canvas
28 x 39 in. (71.2 x 99.1 cm.)
Haworth, February 1935.
Anon. Sale, Sotheby's, London, 18 June 1971, (to Maharaja Bahadur Sir Prodyot Coomar Tagore).
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
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. 67, pl. TD61, illustrated.
London, Royal Academy, 1806, no. 159.
During the Daniells' first tour which took them along the Ganges, they sailed past Benares and spent some time making numerous sketches and drawings from the river which were later used as the basis for fully worked up oils. This painting is one of a small group of oils of the.
Ghats at Benares by Thomas and William. On 4 December 1788, William recorded in his diary 'The general view of Benares from the Pinnacle was so very grand that I stayed on Board the whole day to draw it, fearing if we let slip the present opportunity that we might never see it in a better point of View'. The Daniell's returned to Benares for a longer stay on their return voyage a year later (November - December 1789)
Benares (now known as Varanasi) continues to be the religious capital of India and one of the most important places of pilgrimage and of ritual bathing. Access to the Ganges is obtained by long flights of broad stairs known as ghats of which there are over 100. The Panchanga Ghat, as its name indicates, is where five rivers are supposed to meet. The Daniells depicted the Ghats in their 'Oriental Scenery' and the accompanying text describes them as 'the most considerable of any of of the Ganges...vast multitudes of devotees...to this city to perform penance, and transact mercantile affairs. An opinion prevails amongst them that drawing the last breath at Coss (Benares) is a circumstance much in favour of their enjoyment of future happiness'.
The present view is taken looking down the river from Benimadhava Ghat. A dipastambha (column for lamps) is shown on the right.
Dr. Maurice Shellim has suggested that the picture was painted in 1806.
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.
Please note that this picture belonged to Maharaja Bahadur, prior to the Sotheby's sale in June 1971. It was not bought by him at this sale as stated in the catalogue.
Ahead of an online sale that honours their close bond, Meredith Etherington-Smith traces the roots of a 40-year collaboration
The artist tells us about his meticulous recreation of a child’s toy in a work that became an instant icon when it debuted at the Whitney Museum in New York in 2014