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The Observatory at Delhi plate 20

The Observatory at Delhi plate 20

Artist: Daniell, Thomas (1749-1840)

Medium: Aquatint, coloured

Date: 1808

Shelfmark: X432/5(20)

Item number: plate 20

Genre: Print

Plate 20 from the fifth set of Thomas and William Daniell's 'Oriental Scenery' called 'Antiquities of India.' The Observatory of Delhi, the Jantar-Mantar, was built around 1724 and was one of a series of observatories built by Maharaja Savai Jai Singh II of Jaipur. Other observatories are found at Jaipur, Ujjain, Varanasi and Mathura. The artist was fascinated by the '...singularity as well as the magnitude of such astronomical instruments'. The main instrument depicted, the Samrat-Yantra, in a different view from plate 19, is 'an equinoctial dial, consisting of a triangular gnomon with the hypotenuse parallel to the earth's axis, and on either side of the gnomon is a quadrant of a circle parallel to the plane of the equator.' In the distance is the Ram-Yantra, one of two circular structures used for calculating the horizontal (azimuth) and vertical (altitude) angles of heavenly bodies.

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