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Rare second edition, first published in 1803, of a collection of impressive aquatint plates showing the famous Ellora Caves (Maharashtra, India), a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983.

 

The Ellora complex encompasses dozens of monasteries and temples, rock-cut in the wall of a high basalt cliff, dating from A.D. 600 to 1000. Although the title of this book refers only to Hindu temples, it actually includes sanctuaries devoted to Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, testament to the remarkable religious tolerance that was characteristic of ancient India.

 

James Wales (1747–1795), a scottish painter, went to India in 1791, where he painted portraits and drew the temples at Maharashtra. After his death in 1795 his sketches passed to  Sir Charles Malet, an English diplomat who served in the British East India Company and married Wales's daughter Susanna. Malet asked the artist Thomas Daniel, who had worked with Wales at the Ellora Caves, to etch and publish Wales's drawings, which he did in 1803.

 

In 1816 Thomas Daniel, together with his nephew William, published a second edition, with newly engraved captions and the dates altered to "Feb.y 1, 1816". Just like the first edition, this edition was available both separately and as part of a larger series titled Oriental Scenery.

 

The work is very rare, with only a few copies appearing at auction in the past decades.

Stunning aquatint plates showing the famous Ellora Caves (Maharashtra, India)

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  • James Wales & Thomas Daniell. Hindoo Excavations in the Mountain of Ellora, near Aurangabad in the Decan, in twenty-four views, from the drawings of James Wales, under the direction of Thomas Daniell.

     

    London, printed for Thomas and William Daniell, 1816. 

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