Thomas Daniell, R.A. 1749 - 1840
Hindoo Temples at Bindrabund, East Indies
Photo: R.A./John Hammond
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Hindoo Temples at Bindrabund, East Indies, 1797
Oil on canvas, 1023 X 1380 X 26 mm
Diploma Work given by Thomas Daniell, R.A., accepted 1799
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Bindrabund, today known as Vrindaban, is on the Yamuna River about seventy miles south of Delhi, and is associated with the youth of the Hindu god Krishna. A hugely popular pilgrim site, it contains almost 1,000 separate shrines mostly dating from the sixteenth century. Early in 1789, Thomas Daniell and his nephew William Daniell arrived at Vrindaban. Here they were immediately impressed by the ‘beautiful and singular Pagodas’, finding them ‘most elegantly sculptured; certain carved ribs go equidistant into small figures prettily filled with rosettes’.

Daniell painted Indian landscapes with greater topographical accuracy than Hodges, and depicts in some detail the ghauts, or steps leading down to the river and the red sandstone temples seen behind. Daniell’s interest in India was not to represent its contemporary life and customs but rather to enhance the grandeur of these ancient sites and to respond to the growing interest of an audience at home.

This work is currently on display in the Council Room at the Royal Academy of Arts and can be viewed by attending one of the free tours of the John Madejski Fine Rooms. Click here for further information about the tours

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