South Asian Art at Yale

Yale Center for British Art

The Yale Center for British Art has significant and extensive holdings of paintings, drawings, prints, rare books and manuscripts relating to South Asia produced by British artists working in India, often under the auspices of the East India Company, with a concentration of works produced during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There are also some works by Indian artists produced for British patrons. The rich collection of topographical landscapes by Thomas Daniell and his nephew William, who travelled extensively in India between 1786-1793, includes paintings of Delhi, Bihar, and Madras, and the Center’s copy of the Daniells’ monumental print publication, Oriental Scenery, is complemented by a large group of preparatory drawings for the series. The Center also has extensive holdings of works by William Hodges, who toured the subcontinent under the patronage of Warren Hastings in the early 1780s, notably his Select Views of India, three volumes of watercolors. Portraits in the collection, such as Tilly Kettle’s Shuja-ud-Daula, Nawb of Oudh and Thomas Hickey’s Purniya, Chief Minister of Mysore raise profound questions regarding the complexities of political, social, and cultural interchange in India during British rule. The Center’s holdings also include works relating to South Asia by Johann Zoffany, Francis Swain Ward, Edward Lear, James Wales, William Havell and William Simpson.

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Yale University Art Gallery

With over 500 objects, the collection of South Asian art at the Yale University Art Gallery is small but fine. The collection features an excellent group of textiles ranging from the Mughal Period to the twentieth century; miniature paintings of raga malas, Geeta Govind, and the Bhagavat Purana; Islamic and Jain manuscripts pages; Neolithic, Early Indian, and Gandharan sculptures; and Medieval Jain and Hindu sculptures including a small group of South Indian bronzes.

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