Daniells' Oriental Scenery sees 35% increase on estimate at Sotheby's

Sotheby's Fine Travel and Plate Books: A Private Collection was highlighted yesterday (February 28) by the sale of Thomas and William Daniell's Oriental Scenery.

Oriental Scenery Thomas William Daniell
As Britain's empire expanded, orientalism becamse a prominent subject for the nation's artists

Containing a series of valuable aquatints, the book sold for £337,250 ($511,676), making a 34.9% increase on its £250,000 high estimate. The uncle and nephew duo were two of the foremost European artists working on the Indian subcontinent in the late 18th and early 19th century, and played a crucial role in documenting the country.

Oriental Scenery, published between 1795 and 1807, is heralded as the finest illustrated work ever published in India, after Thomas and William spent nine years (1785-1794) making studies, sketches and drawings in the country. Arranged in six parts, the magnificent work contains six sepia aquatint titles and 144 hand-coloured aquatint plates on thick paper, with this edition containing a further eight sepia engraved plans dated 1803.

Oriental Scenery was an expensive purchase at the time of publication, being offered at 200 guineas, which equates to around £210 ($315) in today's money. According to Christie's, the book was responsible for launching the trend of Indian-inspired architecture in the UK in the early 19th century.

Previous sales of the tome have also brought strong results, with a complete early set selling for £241,250 ($401,440) at Christie's London in June 2009.

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