William Hodges and Thomas Daniell: Picturesque Representations of “Hindoostan”

Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2013

Department 1

Center for Global Education


This independent research project is a case study and investigation of William Hodges (1744-1797), Thomas Daniell (1749-1840), and his nephew William Daniell (years). Through the mediums of drawings, oil on canvas paintings, and aquatints prints, these artists created representations of colonial India during the last quarter of the eighteenth century. As such images of India were lacking before they traveled to India, investigating their work is fruitful to addressing the power, challenge, and impact of representation.

This research begins with a description of these artists, the art aesthetic and political context in which they worked. Then, the question of how they represented India will be interpreted. Finally, the question of contemporary India’s capacity to be represented through artwork will be evaluated. This will include original photographs taken at several sights previously captured by William Hodges and Thomas and William Daniell. Such research is worthwhile because India is a challenging area to represented in the time of these artists as well as today. Also, India is struggling to define itself, and by researching the way it was previously portrayed may provide insight to addressing India’s current struggle to define itself.

This paper was written for the India: National Identity and the Arts program.