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Works Thomas Girtin after Thomas Daniell

The Gateway Leading to the Sulaimani Tomb Complex at Churnargarh

1797 - 1798

Primary Image: TG0863: Thomas Girtin (1775–1802), after Thomas Daniell (1749–1840), The Gateway Leading to the Sulaimani Tomb Complex at Churnargarh, 1797–98, graphite and watercolour on laid paper, on an early mount, 13.3 × 20 cm, 5 ¼ × 7 ⅞ in. Tate (T08904).

Photo courtesy of Tate (All Rights Reserved)

Artist's source: Thomas Daniell (1749–1840), aquatint, hand-coloured, 'Gate Leading to a Musjed, at Chunar Ghur' for Oriental Scenery, part 1, no.24, January 1797, 43.3 × 60.1 cm, 17 × 23 ¹¹⁄₁₆ in. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection Library.

Photo courtesy of The British Library Board

Thomas Girtin (1775-1802) after Thomas Daniell (1749-1840)
  • The Gateway Leading to the Sulaimani Tomb Complex at Churnargarh
1797 - 1798
Medium and Support
Graphite and watercolour on laid paper, on an early mount
13.3 × 20 cm, 5 ¼ × 7 ⅞ in
Mount Dimensions
19.3 × 23.9 cm, 7 ⅝ × 9 ⅜ in

'Girtin' on the back of the mount

Object Type
Outline Drawing; Work from a Known Source: Contemporary British
Subject Terms
Oriental Scenery

Catalogue Number
Description Source(s)
Viewed in 2001 and 2019


Thomas Girtin (1775–1802); his posthumous sale, possibly Christie’s, 1 June 1803, lot 95 as 'An East India View'; bought by 'Harman', £2; ... Edward Horsman Coles (1866–1954); bequeathed to Paul Oppé (1878–1957); then by descent; bought by Tate as part of the Oppé Collection with assistance from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, 1996


Oppé, 1957–59, p.98, no.258; Tate Online as 'An Indian Building' (Accessed 13/09/2022)

About this Work

This drawing, hitherto known simply as ‘An Indian Building’, is a copy of an aquatint by Thomas Daniell (1749–1840) that was published in 1797 as Gate Leading to a Musjed, at Chunar Ghur (see the source image above). There is also a pencil drawing of the ornate gateway by Thomas and William Daniell (1769–1837), dated 30 December 1789 (British Library, London (WD1715)), but it does not include the areas of light and shade shown in Girtin’s drawing and it is clear that his copy was made after the print that was included in the publication, Oriental Scenery (Daniell, 1797, part 1, pl.24). The view shows the elaborately carved principal gateway to the tomb complex of Shah Qasim Sulaimani, built by his son in about 1618. The ancient fortress of Churnargarh, on a bold rock on the Ganges just before it reaches Varanasi, was strongly fortified by the Emperor Akbar (1542–1605) and represented the gateway to his Eastern Indian provinces. The text to the print in Daniell’s publication notes that ‘the effect of this gate, at a distance, is grand, from the bold projection of its superior parts; and its ornaments, though numerous, are applied with so much art and discretion, as to form the happiest union of beauty and grandeur’ and at least some of this comes across in Girtin’s copy drawing. The purpose of Girtin’s drawing is difficult to ascertain, however. It seems to have remained in the artist’s possession, probably cropping up in his posthumous sale in 1803 as ‘an East India View’ (Exhibitions: Christie’s, 1 June 1803, lot 95), and this suggests that it was not made as a commission for a patron such as Dr Thomas Monro (1759–1833) or John Henderson (1764–1843), who valued his copies after other artists. It is also difficult to see how a sketch copy of a characteristically ornate seventeenth-century Indian building might be a useful exercise in respect of Girtin’s work as a watercolourist, and so perhaps it is best to regard the work as evidence of the artist’s sense of curiosity, which found expression in a need to record images that simply caught his eye.

by Greg Smith

Place depicted

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