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The fortress and citadel of Ghazni (Afghanistan) and the two Minars. Tribesmen with camels, horses and pack bullocks in foreground

The fortress and citadel of Ghazni (Afghanistan) and the two Minars.  Tribesmen with camels, horses and pack bullocks in foreground

Artist: Atkinson, James (1780-1852)

Medium: Watercolour

Date: 1839

Shelfmark: WD2401

Item number: 2401

Length: 25

Width: 36.6

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Painting

Water-colour sketch of the fortress and citadel of Ghazni (Afghanistan) by James Atkinson (1780-1852) dated to 1839 or 1840. Inscribed on the mount of this picture is: 'The fortress and Citadel of Ghiznee and the two Minars.' Atkinson served with the Bengal Medical Service and from 1838 to 1841 was in Kabul with the Army of the Indus as Superintending Surgeon. This is one of 16 water-colours depicting the march of the Army of the Indus from Sind to Kabul in Afghanistan via Quetta and Kandahar. These drawings are part of the original set of 24 water-colours, from which lithographs were made by L. and C. Haghe for J. Atkinson, entitled 'Sketches in Afghaunistan' (London, 1842).

This fortress was attacked by British troops under Lord Keane during the first Afghan-British War. Atkinson wrote: ‘In approaching the walls of this fortress, there is a considerable ascent across the bridge to the rampart on the east side. The gate was lying in fragments, and a bastion to the right of it was also demolished. The ascent inside is very abrupt, to the citadal, which is very spacious, and built wholly on a hill, but sloping more gradually down towards the South West, where the tower is situated.’ The 'minars' or towers in the image were built by the Ghaznavid dynasty at their capital and date to circa 1100.

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