(23 1/8 x 18 1/2 inches). Title and text in English and French. 1 uncoloured engraved map, 48 aquatint plates by and after William Hodges, India paper proofs before letters, numbered in manuscript in the lower corners. Period calf, covers with a gilt Greek key scroll border, expertly rebacked to style, flat spine in eight compartments, original black morocco lettering piece in the second compartment, the others with a repeat decoration in gilt, marbled endpapers Provenance: Ozias Humphry (1742-1810, presentation inscription signed by Hodges on the title dated November 8, 1788) Author's presentation copy and a very rare issue of Hodges' pioneering work on the architectural and picturesque wonders of India, with the plates being proof impressions before letters printed on India paper. Born in London the son of a blacksmith, William Hodges was employed as an errand-boy in Shipley's drawing school, where in his spare time he learned to draw. The landscape painter Richard Wilson (1714-1782) noticed him and took him on as his assistant and pupil, and by 1766 Hodges was exhibiting in his own right. In 1772, through the interest of Lord Palmerston (1739-1802) a member of the board of Admiralty, he was appointed as draughtsman to Captain James Cook's second expedition to the South Seas. He returned in 1775 and was employed by the Admiralty in working up his drawings of the expedition and in supervising the engraving of the plates for Cook's published account of the expedition. He exhibited a number of pictures inspired by the voyage at the Royal Academy in London in 1776 and 1777. Life in London must have seemed quite restrained after his South Sea experiences, and after ending his contract with the Admiralty and following the death of his wife, he left for India in 1778. "But the first year in India was disappointing. Hodges health was poor and the Second Mysore War . was in progress . he was confined to Madras and its immediate environs. On moving to Calcutta in February 1781, however, he was to travel far more widely through the generosity and patronage of the Governor-General Warren Hastings . During 1781 Hodges made two tours up-country with him during which he saw the ruins of many Muslim palaces, tombs and mosques. The next year he found a patron in Augustus Cleveland, a liberal administrator stationed at Bhagalpur in Bihar. Touring with him Hodges saw a very different India - the forested tracts inhabited by an aboriginal people, the Paharias. During 1783 he made a long expedition up-country to join Major Brown who was heading a diplomatic embassy to the Mughal Emperor. Hodges was now able to see the great Mughal monuments at Agra and Sikandra. He returned through Central India to Calcutta via Lucknow and left India in November 1783." ( India Observed ). On his return to London, he exhibited 25 oil paintings of India at the Royal Academy, along with a selection of his aquatints. "All of these works gave a completely new and direct vision of India translated into an eighteenth century painter's composition. His views of the countryside with its great rivers and forests had little in common with the popular picture of India gained from old engravings in the travellers' accounts. His architectural subjects depicted many little-known Muslim tombs and mosques, Hindu temples, forts and palaces in Upper India."( India Observed ). Beyond the never-before-seen subject matter of the prints, Hodges proto-impressionistic style is worthy of particular note. "He conveyed the towering bulk of many Indian monuments by exaggerated proportions and foreshortened perspective. The countryside is shown rough with stunted scrub and windswept trees; paint is vigorously applied . Here was a new and fresh approach to the Indian scene, viewing it in the 'picturesque' taste and presenting novel material, especially architecture, to the British public in a new manner" ( India Observed ). The appearance of this work caused a sensation, as nothing of the sce. Bookseller Inventory # 26253
Title: Select Views in India, drawn on the spot, in...
Publisher: printed for the author, and sold by J. Edwards
Publication Date: 1787
Binding: Imperial folio
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
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