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Select Views In India, Drawn On The Spot, In The Years 1780, 1781, 1782 And 1783, And Executed In Aqua Tinta, By William Hodges, R.A. Choix De Vues De L'Inde, Dessinées Sur Les Lieux, Pendant Les Années 1780, 1781, 1782, Et 1783, Et Executées En Aqua Tinta, Par Guillaume Hodges, Membre De L'Academie Royale De Peinture

William Hodges RA

RA Collection: Book

Record number



Variant Title

Choix De Vues De L'Inde, Dessinnées Sur Les Lieux ...


London.: (1785-1788.)

Physical Description

2 vols.; 590 mm. (Folio).

General Note

Vol. I: [34] p., [24] pl. - Vol. II: [28] p., [24] pl. The work was originally issued in parts. There was also an issue in one volume ('Printed for the Author; And sold by J. Edwards ...') (probably slightly later than the two-volume format). Brunet states that more expensive copies coloured by the artist were also available.


Vol. I: [T.p., dedic.] - [Plates, with text]. - Vol. II: [T.p.] - Volume The Second Contains ... - [Plates, with text].

Responsibility Note

All plates are signed as drawn and engraved by W. Hodges.

Most plates carry the publisher's imprint of J. Wells (Vol. I., pl.[5-24} and Vol. II. pl.[1-4]) or J. Grives (Vol. II. pl. [5-24]).

The work is dedicated by Hodges to the Chairman and Directors of the East India Company.


Travel in aquatint and lithography 1770-1860 from the library of J.R. Abbey (1957/R1991), v. 2., no. 416; R.V. Tooley, English Books With Coloured Plates 1790-1850 A Bibliographical Account (1954; repr. 1987), no. 263, p.220-1. On Hodges see: William Hodges 1744-1797: the art of exploration, ed. G. Quilley [exhibition catalogue] (2004); G.H.R. Tillotson, The artificial empire: the Indian landscapes of William Hodges (2000); I.C. Stuebe, The life and works of William Hodges, 2 v. (1979); W. Hodges, Travels in India during the years 1780, 1781, 1782 and 1783 (London, 1793). On British artists in India see: P. Rohatgi, ed., Under the Indian sun: British landscape artists (1995); India observed: India as viewed by British artists 1760-1860 [exhibition catalogue] (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982).
ESTC, T153056

Summary Note

The title of the second volume varies from that of the first only by the addition of the words 'Volume The Second'. No publication-dates are given on the title-pages; but the work was fist published serially in twelve parts, and publication-dates are carried by most plates: in Volume I, 1785 (pl. [1-4, 7-9, 11]), 1786 (pl. [[5, 6, 10, 12-17, 19]), or 1787 (pl. [18, 20-24]); in Volume II, 1787 (pl. [1-14]) or 1788 (pl. [15-24]). The dedication carries the date of 1786.

The text is printed in English and French in parallel throughout.

The plates and text describe chiefly places in Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and (briefly) Tamil Nadu. The first volume shows views of: the city of Oud; Chunar Gur (S.W.); Chunar Gur (N.); Caravan serai at Raje Mahel; Gwalior (N.W.); Gwalior (S.); ruins at Gazipoor on the Ganges; tombs at Gazipoor; fort at Lutteefpoor; fort at Bidgegur; ruins of palace and mosque at Futty poor Sicri; mosque at Futtipoor Sicri; musjid or tomb at Jionpoor; farm-yard in Bengal; mosque at Rajemahel; fort at Agra on the Jumna; mosque at Mounheer; mosque at Mounheer (S.E.); mosque at Chunar Gur; fort at Allahabad; part of Benares on the Ganges; bridge over Oodooanulla; pagodas at Deogur; great pagoda at Tanjore. Volume II shows views of: a hill village on Bengal; gaut at Etawa; ravines at Etawa; Chinsura; fort of Mongheer; east gate of Mongheer; mosque at Gauzipoor; rock in the Ganges; fort of Jionpoor on the Goomty; bridge at Jionpoor; ruins of Agra; mausoleum at Etmadpoor; part of palace of Sujah Ul Dowlah at Fizabad; another part of the same; tomb of Akbar at Secundrii; tombs at Secundrii near Agra; Cuttera built by Jaffier Cawn at Muxadabad; Firozebad; Shekoabad; fort of Peteter; Benares; pass of Sicri Gully or Sicly Gully; jungle Terry in Bengal; Hindoo monument.

A pupil of William Shipley and Richard Wilson, Hodges had travelled to the South Pacific with Captain Cook (1772-5) before visiting India (1779-83), where he enjoyed the patronage and friendship of Warren Hastings. From 1785 to 1788 he exhibited at the Royal Academy twenty-two views of India. He became an Associate of the Academy in 1786 and a full Member in 1787. Some of his exhibits may be distinguished in J.H. Ramberg's painting, 'The Exhibition of the Royal Academy 1787'. While publishing these Select Views, or shortly afterwards, he issued a short Dissertation On The Prototypes Of Architecture, Hindoo, Moorish, and Gothic (dedication dated 1787); and in 1793 he followed up the Select Views with his Travels in India in the years 1780, 1781, 1782 and 1783 (with fourteen engravings after his paintings or drawings). A German version of the Select Views was published in 1789; a second edition of the Travels appeared in 1794, and a French translation in 1805.

In his art and his writings Hodges shows himself deeply appreciative of non-European civilisations and landscapes. For his fresh approach he has been likened to Thomas Jones (also a pupil of Wilson), and seen as a forerunner of nineteenth-century plein-air and naturalist artists. The Royal Academy has one of Hodges's paintings in its collection, his diploma work, 'View of part of the city of Benares on the river Ganges' (1787).


Bought by the Royal Academy in 1787-88 (see payments recorded in RA Cash Book, 1 February 1787: 'Hodges £9 9s.'; 12 November 1788: 'Hodges Views £11 11s.').

Binding Note

20th-century calf, gilt-decorated spines, red and green morocco spine-labels lettered 'Hodges's Views In India' and ' I (II)', spine lettered 'R.A.'. Bound with Hodges's A Dissertation On The Prototypes Of Architecture, Hindoo, Moorish, And Gothic (1787).

Name as Subject


Painters, British - British - Architecture - Painting, European - Painting, British - Landscape painting, British - India in Art - India - Bengal - Bihar - Uttar Pradesh - Tamil Nadu - History - 18th century - Description and travel
Views - Travel sketches - 18th century
Pictorial works - Aquatints - Great Britain - 18th century


John Wells, publisher
James Grives, publisher
William Hodges RA, draughtsman, engraver
East India Company, dedicatee

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