Travels In India, During The Years 1780, 1781, 1782, & 1783. By William Hodges, R.A.

William Hodges RA

RA Collection: Book

Record number




London:: Printed For The Author, And Sold By J. Edwards, Pall-Mall., MDCCXCIII.

Physical Description

vi, 156, [2] p., [14] pl., [1] fold. map; 295 mm. (Quarto.)

General Note

Despite the Directions To The Binder, pl. [3] ('to face page 22')and [4]('to face page 24') have been transposed; pl. [12] ('to face page 114') has been bound in facing p. 117; pl. [13]('to face page 128') has been bound in facing p.124.


[T.p.] - Preface - [Text, with pl.] - [Fold. map] - Table of the Plates, With Directions To The Binder - [Publisher's advertisement].

Responsibility Note

Plate [7] is signed as drawn by W. Hodges and engraved by P.W. Tomkins. The other plates are captioned - pl. [3] as after an Indian painting, and engraved by W. Skelton, the rest as painted or drawn by W. Hodges and engraved by T. Medland, W. Byrne, W.Angus, W. Skelton, B.T. Pouncy, Jas. Fittler or J. Walker. The folding map is signed as engraved by J. Cary.

Each plate, apart from the folding map, carries the publisher's imprint of J. Edwards, Pall Mall, and the date (Jany. 1st. 1793).


ESTC, T87144
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, Select Views In India (1785-8).
More general surveys were: P. Rohatgi, ed., Under the Indian sun: British landscape artists (1995).
India observed: India as viewed by British artists 1760-1860 [exhibition catalogue] (1982).

Summary Note

The plates are captioned and show:

[1] 'A View of the Great Pagoda at Tanjore';

[2] 'A View of Calcutta, taken from Fort William';

[3] 'The Pass of Sicri Gully from Bengal entering into the Province of Bahar';

[4] 'A View of the Inside of a Zananah';

[5] 'Banyan Tree';

[6] 'Mahommedan Women attending the Tombs of their Parents, Relatives, or Friends, at Night';

[7] 'A Peasant Woman of Hindostan; A Sepoy Matchlock Man ...';

[8] 'A Column taken from the Temple of Vis Visha at Benares';

[9] 'Procession of a Hindoo Woman to the Funeral Pile of her Husband';

[10] 'A View of Bidjegur';

[11] 'A View of the Palace of the Nabob Asoph ul Dowlah at Lucknow';

[12] 'A View of Agra taken from the South West';

[13] 'A Woman of Hindostan; Mullah ...';

[14] 'A View of the Fort of Gwalior'.

The map is captioned, 'A Map Of Part Of Bengal And Bahar with the Provinces of Benares, Allahabad, Oude And Agra.'

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 his Select Views (1785-8), or shortly afterwards, he issued a short Dissertation On The Prototypes Of Architecture, Hindoo, Moorish, and Gothic (dedication dated 1787); which was followed in 1793 with the present Travels. 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).


An electronic reproduction was published in 2003 (Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale|). A microfilm copy was published in 1999 (Woodbridge, Conn.: Primary Source Media).

Binding Note

18th-century mottled calf; rebacked in 1993, red morocco spine-label lettered 'Hodges - Travels In India'.

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 literature - Travel sketches - Great Britain - 18th century
Pictorial works - Aquatints - Great Britain - 18th century


James Edwards, publisher
William Hodges RA, source artist, publisher
Thomas Medland, engraver
William Byrne, engraver
William Angus, engraver
William Skelton, engraver
Benjamin Thomas Pouncy, engraver
Peltro William Tomkins, engraver
James Fittler ARA, engraver
J. Cary, engraver