Ruins at Madura. 4-9 July 1792
Artist: Daniell, Thomas (1749-1840)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil and wash drawing of the ruins of the Tirumala Nayaka palace at Madurai, by Thomas and William Daniell, dated 4-9 July 1792. Inscribed on back in ink: '21. Ruins at Madura.'
Thomas Daniell and his nephew William travelled throughout India from 1786 to 1794 drawing and painting the landscape views and monuments they witnessed along the way. The Daniells are renowned for their Oriental Scenery, a collection of aquatints of views in India in six parts, published between 1795 and 1810. This is the preparatory drawing for the aquatint in Oriental Scenery II, 17. Tirumala Nayaka (r. 1623-59) was one of the most important rulers of the Nayaka dynasty and was an ambitious builder; the Tirumala Nayaka Palace was built in 1636 and was intended to be one of the grandest palaces in South India. Yet shortly after the palace was completed in 1659, Tirumala's grandson Chokkanatha took the Nayaka throne. During Chokkanatha's reign the capital was transferred to Tiruchirapalli and large parts of this palace were dismantled. The courtyard, entrance gate, dance hall and main hall are the only parts of the palace that are left extant from the original structure. The artists noted that on the west side of the palace a few buildings were '...sufficiently in repair to be converted into use by the garrison, as granaries, store-houses, powder magazines, ect.'
the Minakshi Sundareshvara Temple complex which dominates the centre of the town dates to his reign. The Celestial Pavilion (Swarga Vilasa) was used as the throne-room and has an arcaded octagon covered by a dome 60-70 feet high.