William Daniell RA (1769–1837)
"Curragh [Kara] on the Ganges" circa 1789
Numbered in pencil '68' in the sky above the trees top left
Pencil and grey watercolour wash on paper
19.4 cm x 25.7 cm
Lot 111, Christie's, King Street, London, Sale 2nd August 1977
Private Collection, UK
William Daniell spent ten years with his uncle Thomas Daniell R.A. (1749-1840) on a journey to India (between 1784 and 1794). On their travels they made studies, sketches and drawings of scenary, architecture and antiquities before returning to England where many of these were worked up into etchings and aquatints.
Curragh (Kara), also known as Corah, was a town on the Ganges, west of the city of Allahabad, which was the capital of a 'circar'/'sarkar' (administrative unit) of the same name. Kara had been an important centre in mediaeval times but fell into decline after 1583. The ruins of the old city extend along the river bank for some two miles and provided many picturesque subjects including the ruins of its gateway, fort, temple and various tombs. Thomas and William Daniell passed through Kara twice, firstly in December 1788 and then again in October 1789, and a number of drawings and watercolours resulted from these visits. This grey wash watercolour is almost certainly one of the original sketches made in-situ by William Daniel, which would have returned with him to England to act as an aide memoir when worked up images for publication in aquatint. A "View from the Ruins of the Fort of Currah, on the River Ganges", published in 1801, appears in William and Thomas Daniells' 'Oriental scenery or Views of the architecture, antiquities and landscape scenery of Hindostan'.