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View of the Taj Mahal from Agra Fort (U.P.). c. 24 January 1789

View of the Taj Mahal from Agra Fort (U.P.). c. 24 January 1789

Artist: Daniell, Thomas (1749-1840)

Medium: Pen and ink on paper

Date: 1789

Shelfmark: WD2065

Item number: 2065

Length: 10.2

Width: 17.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Drawing

Pencil and pen-and-ink drawing of a view of the Taj Mahal from the Agra Fort, by Thomas and William Daniell, dated c. 24 January 1789. Inscribed on back in pencil: 'View of the Taj from Agra Fort. W. Daniell. R.A.'

During his travels in India, Thomas was accompanied by his young nephew William who sketched with him and also kept a journal of their journey. Arriving in Agra on the 20 January 1789 he wrote, "The Tents were pitched immediately opposite the Tage Mahl. Un [uncle] & self drawing from it most of the Day." And on the 24 January, "Set out very early this morning towards the fort where we emplyed ourselves the Whole Day. Un drew in the Camera a general View of the Outside of the fort & myself a View of the principal Gate in the inside."

The Taj Mahal was built on the banks of the river Jumna at Agra by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his wife Mumtaz Mahal following her death in 1632. The tomb itself is constructed of brick and faced in white marble. Its surfaces are inlaid with gemstones and coloured marbles in calligraphic, geometric and floral designs. Shah Jahan himself was later buried in the tomb next to his wife. The mausoleum sits at the northern end of a formal garden arranged according to a 'chahar bagh' or four-part garden layout of Persian origin. It is flanked on one side by a mosque and to the other by its 'jawab' or echo, thought to have provided a resting house for visitors to the tomb. Both buildings are faced in red sandstone with three white marble onion domes apiece. At the southern end of the garden is a monumental gateway also of red sandstone. Calligraphy around its central arched opening encourages the visitor to continue into the gardens within by asking them to 'Enter Thou my Paradise'.

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