“AMONG THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THINGS EVER MADE”: FIRST EDITION OF THE DANIELLS’ PICTURESQUE VOYAGE TO INDIA, ONE OF THE FINEST COLOR PLATE BOOKS OF THE 19TH CENTURY
DANIELL, Thomas and William. A Picturesque Voyage to India; by the Way of China. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees and Orme, and William Daniell, by Thomas Davison, 1810. Folio (10-1/2 inches by 14 inches, with actual images measuring 7-1/2 inches by 5 inches), period-style full blue straight grain morocco with elaborately gilt decorated spine and boards, raised bands, marbled endpapers and edges. $16,000.
First edition of one of the finest and most popular hand-colored aquatint plate books of the 19th century, with 50 magnificent mounted hand-colored aquatints of views and inhabitants of China and India, with descriptive text.
Originally issued in ten parts, “the aquatints of India by Thomas and William Daniell have been continuously popular ever since their publication between 1795 and 1810… A Picturesque Voyage consisted of 50 aquatints depicting the places visited by the artists on their various journeys to and from China and to India. Five views show their approach to Calcutta and the city itself. The publication of these aquatints had been a mammoth task. The two artists prepared almost all the plates themselves. [William Daniell came to be regarded as] one of the greatest aquatinters of the 19th century… The Daniells’ Indian aquatints soon made an impact on the British public and on British culture at a number of different levels” (Early Views of India, 223-225). “One of a series of books that are surely among the most beautiful things ever made” (IPEX Exhibition of English Colour Plate Books). Text watermarked 1808; Abbey’s copy, most likely a later issue, had a mix of 1808 and 1817. Abbey Travel 516. Tooley 173.
Plates and text generally clean. A beautifully bound copy in near-fine condition.