We use cookies to improve your experience online. By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our cookies policy.

Hindoo Excavations. In The Mountain Of Ellora Near Aurungabad In The Decan: In Twenty Four Views Respectfully Dedicated To Sir Charles Warre Malet Bart. Late The British Resident At Poonah: Engraved From The Drawings Of James Wales, By And Under The Direction Of Thomas Daniell.

RA Collection: Book

Record number


Variant Title

Oriental Scenery


London: , June 1st. 1803. [text volume 'June 1, 1804.']

Physical Description

One volume of plates and one volume of text; 732 mm. (Broadsheet) [plates] and 219 mm. (Octavo) [text].

General Note

[Plates vol.:] T.pl., 24 pl. - [Text vol.:] 32 p.


[Plates vol.:] [T.pl.] - [Plates]. - [Text vol.:] [T.p.] - [Text]; [colophon].

Responsibility Note

All numbered plates are signed as drawn by James Wales and as engraved by and under the direction of Thomas Daniell. The title-plate is unsigned.

Each numbered plate carries the publisher's imprint of Thomas Daniell (and the date of publication).

In the letter-press volume the printer is named on the t.p. verso and in the colophon: 'T. Bensley, Printer, Bolt Court, Fleet Street.'

Daniell's dedicatee, Sir Charles Warre Malet, was the father-in-law of the draughtsman James Wales.


Royal Institute of British Architects, British Architectural Library ... Early printed books, I (1994), no. 804; M. Archer, Early views of India: the picturesque journeys of Thomas and William Daniell, 1786-1794: the complete aquatints (1980); Travel in aquatint and lithography, 1770-1860, from the library of J.R. Abbey: a bibliographical catalogue (1952), p.375-6; C. W. Malet, 'Description of the caves or excavations, on the mountain about a mile to the eastward of the town of Ellora', in Asiatic Researches, 6 (1801), p.389-423.

On the Daniells and on British artists in India see the note on Thomas Daniell's 'Oriental Scenery'.

Summary Note

Thomas Daniell published six sets of engravings of Indian views - three under the title, 'Oriental Scenery', one as 'Twenty Four Landscapes, Views in Hindoostan', one as 'Antiquities Of India', and the present work. All are often referred to collectively as his 'Oriental Scenery'.

The publication-date of June 1st 1803, given on the title-plate, is repeated on all twenty-four numbered plates. (The British Library India Office Library holds a further set of eight views of rock-cut temples, all carrying the date of July 1 1803.) On the title-page of the accompanying letter-press booklet, the title is given as on the title-plate of the set of plates, but the publication-date is given as 'June I, 1804'.

The numbered plates are captioned, and show: I.-III. The Mountain Of Ellora. 1st.(-3rd.) View [these three plates form one panoramic view]; IV. Jagannâtha Sabhâ; V. Paraswa Râma Sabhâ; VI. The Entrance Of Indra Sabhâ; VII. View Of Indra Sabhâ, Looking Outward; VIII. Indra Sabhâ; IX. Doomar Leyna; X. Junwassa; XI. Râmêswara; XII. The Entrance To Kailâsa; XIII. S.W. View Of Kailâsa; XIV. N.E. View Of Kailâsa; XV.-XVI. The Upper Part Of Kailâsa. No.I.(-II.) [these two plates form one panoramic view]; XVII. Das Âvatâra; XVIII. The Ashes Of Râvana; XIX. The Ashes Of Râvana, Interior View; XX. Tin-Tali; XXI. Dotali; XXII. Viswakarmâ, Exterior View; XXIII. Viswakarmâ; XXIV. Dehr Warra.

The plates are all hand-coloured aquatints.

James Wales was drawing the rock temples of Ellora in Maharashtra ca. 1793. After his death in 1795 his drawings passed to Sir Charles Warre Malet, who married Wales's daughter Susanna in 1799. Malet asked Thomas Daniell to engrave and publish the drawings, and possibly subsidised their publication.

The word 'excavations' in the title refers not to archaeological excavations but to the fact that the temples were cut out of the rock. There are thirty-four major caves in the Ellora group - containing sculptures created between the 6th and 9th century A.D. following the iconography of the Buddhists (caves 1-12), Hindus (caves 14-29) or Jains (caves 30-34). The most celebrated cave is that containing the Kailasa Temple, dedicated to Shiva (cave 16). Although Daniell gives the whole set of plates the title 'Hindoo Excavations', he includes views of the Buddhist shrines (pl. XX, XXI, XXIV) and Jain shrines (pl. IV-VIII).


1 August 1805: 'Mr Farington Moved, that M.r Daniell's Publications (compleat) of Views in India be purchased, to be deposited in the Library of the Royal Academy. Seconded by M.r Loutherbourg; and was Unanimous.' (RA Council Minutes III, 361).

'Paid Thomas Daniell Esq.r R.A. for his Views in India £134.14.0'. (RA Account Book, 'Abstract of Bills ... Midsummer to Michaelmas 1805).

'Paid Thomas Daniel for the first [i.e. fifth] set of his Oriental Scenery £29.16.0'. (RA Account Book, 'Abstract of Bills ... Midsummer to Michaelmas 1808).

Copy Note

Plates XV, XVI have been bound in after plate VII.

Binding Note

[Plates vol.:] 19th-century half black morocco, blue papered boards; spine lettered 'Daniell's Antiquities & Views In India', 'R.A.' and '1803'.

[Text vol.:] 19th-century green cloth-covered boards; rebacked and recornered in 20th century with black morocco, spine lettered 'Views Of Hindoostan Daniell.' and 'R.A.' Bound with 2 others.

Name as Subject


Architecture - Sculpture - Bas-reliefs - Temples - Cave Temples - India - Maharashtra - Ellora - History
Hinduism - Iconography
Drawings - 18th century
Art history - Views - Great Britain - 19th century
Pictorial works - Aquatints - Hand coloring - Great Britain - 19th century


James Wales, draughtsman
Thomas Daniell RA, engraver
Sir Charles Warre Malet Bt., dedicatee
Thomas Bensley, printer

Images from this book

22 results