Romantic Circles Gallery
The Queen of Candy
The Queen of Candy, the Candian king’s daughter, poses in a chair, legs crossed, against a mountainous landscape. Her elongated neck is covered with exotic, shell-like jewelry. Her hair is bound tightly back and garnished with a loop of flowers. She averts her gaze from the viewer and modestly covers her shoulders, exposing only one, small hand. Unlike most depictions of native Indian subjects, her demure features are set in a round, child-like face.
Copyright 2009, Chazen Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Oriental Annual, or Scenes in India (Vol. 1: London, 1834)
AY 13 O7 1834
The Queen of Candy was an original sketch by William Daniell, inspired by his travels in India. It is bound in The Oriental Annual, or Scenes in India (1834).
Tours of Wiliam and Thomas Daniell in India
At the age of fourteen, William Daniell accompanied his uncle Thomas Daniell, a landscape painter trained at the Royal Academy, on a journey to India from 1786 to 1794. The first two years were spent in Calcutta preparing Views of Calcutta. After the first two years they traveled to the Punjab Hills and then back to Calcutta in 1971. They began a second tour in 1792, working their way through Mysore and Madras. After staying in Madras from 1793 to 1794 they finally returned to England. Drawings made during these trips were engraved in books and prints (some of which were exhibited at the Royal Academy).
The India Act of 1784
The Daniells arrived in India during a period of political transition, just after the departure of Warren Hastings and prior to the instatement of Charles Cornwallis (1738-1805), the new Governor-General of India. Cornwallis was the first Governor-General appointed under the new India Act of 1784 (passed during William Pitt's term as British prime minister). The act was passed in part as a means of reigning in the Hastings style of government, which was seen as “too indigenous, free-wheeling and popular, too benevolent and multi-national and not British enough” (De Almeida 168). Hastings became known for incorporating native Indians as administrators, financers, and civil servants. The India Act proceeded to centralize Company administration: a six-member Board of Control was created which controlled the Company’s possessions abroad, and the Governor-Generalship was made a Crown appointment with full control over other governors and presidencies in India. Additionally, the act created a centralized British military in India.
Appointment of Governor-General Cornwallis (1786-1793)
Charles Cornwallis (1738-1805) gained experience in the military while serving in America, and was employed to carry out England’s imperialist vision in India. His strategic military victories on land (for example, in Mysore with Tipu Sultan) not only extended England's rule, but also provided sepoys that could be recruited and kept on reserve for the Napoleonic Wars. Additionally, Cornwallis’ belief that “every native of Hindoostan is corrupt” gave way to a purging of Indian natives from administrative positions and forbid mixing or socializing between races. A purification and segregation process, in which hybridity was especially scorned, took place under Cornwallis’s rule (De Almeida 168). Dalrymple claims that “these new racial attitudes affected all aspects of relations between the British and Indians” (Dalrymple 41). Prior to Cornwallis’s strict racial segregation, many British officials were integrated into Indian society by learning the language, adopting Indian dress and mannerisms, and marrying Indian women (bibis). The decline of this integration became apparent with the declining rates of bibis on wills; by the mid-nineteenth century no records of bibis on wills exist (Dalrymple 1). Even though these changes brought about tension between the British and Indians, many British officials continued to be patrons of Indian art (Archer 1-15).
The works that William Daniell produced, including sketches, engravings and paintings, are indebted to the apprenticeship he acquired during his travels with his uncle, Thomas Daniell in India. Thomas Daniell entered the Royal Academy in 1773, and began his career as a painter of the picturesque in English landscapes. He then became an “artist-adventurer,” traveling first to Calcutta in India, then as far south as Madras. Both Thomas and William Daniell were influenced by and followed a similar journey already undertaken in India by William Hodges (1744-1797) (Sutton).
The East India Company (1600-1873)
The East India Company was formed to trade with East and Southeast Asia and India and was instituted by royal charter on Dec. 31, 1600. Although it started as a monopolistic trading company, it soon became involved in politics and acted as an instrument of British imperialism in India from the early eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century. The company was founded with the hope of dominating the East Indian spice trade. This trade had been a monopoly of Spain and Portugal until the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 gave England the opportunity to appropriate the lucrative market.
The Oriental Annual, or Scenes in India was written by Rev. Hobart Caunter (1792-1851) about his travels in India; he did not travel with the Daniells, but began his tour in 1810. The account is intended to provide both instruction and entertainment.
The image of the Queen of Candy is found in Caunter's account of the interior of Ceylon, which he describes as uncivilized, barbaric, and wearisome. Upon arriving at the outskirts of Ceylon he met the Candian King. He writes:
Whilst we remained in the neighborhood of his Candian majesty’s residence, Mr. William Daniell was permitted to make a portrait of the queen, from which the accompanying engraving is taken; it may be relied upon as a most admirable likeness. She was very young, extremely pretty, of engaging manners, familiar without being free, and appeared much delighted at seeing her features transferred to paper. Her dress was becoming, her figure graceful and her gait elegant. (Daniell 85)He contrasts encountering this young beauty with “seeing several unfortunate wretches who were afflicted with elephantiasis, which is truly a most horrible disease. The whole body is sometimes incrusted with large cutaneous tubercles, which give the appearance of being covered with a squalid elephant’s hide.”
Though Caunter writes that Daniell accompanied him to Ceylon, no documentation exists of their traveling together. Rather, it seems that Caunter wrote an account of their traveling together after a series of interviews with Daniell (Sutton).
By representing the Queen of Candy as an individual rather than a type, this image attests to the mutuality and tolerance definitive of many Indian-British relationships prior to the India Act of 1784.
In contrast to either The Fruit Seller or The Hindoo Female, the subject of The Queen of Candy has an official name and title. She is represented as an individual rather than as a generic type. Daniell’s slippage between types and individuals reflects the less-prescribed nature of the relationships between the British and the Indians prior to the early-nineteenth century, when an intolerance for hybridity became the norm. Additionally, the encounter between the Candian King and the Daniells reflects a different power dynamic than that occuring between a colonizer and colonized subject. Many British artists in the mid- to late-eighteenth century were traveling to India in order to make their fortunes as artists, and consequently worked for wealthy Indian nawabs (Sutton).
Falling under the genre of "travel books," The Oriental Annual, or Scenes in India constituted a combination of fictional travel accounts and instruction manuals. They were widely distributed and read; many book reviews regarding The Oriental Annual are found in periodicals of the time.
Archer, Mildred. Early Views of India: The Picturesque Journeys of Thomas and William Daniell, 1786-1794: The Complete Aquatints. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1980. Print.
Daniell, William and Hobart Caunter. The Oriental Annual, or Scenes in India. Vol. 1. London, 1834. Print. 7 vols. 1834-40.
De Almeida, Hermione and George H. Gilpin. Indian Renaissance: British Romantic Art and the Prospect of India. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2005. Print.
Sutton, Thomas. The Daniells; Artists and Travellers.London: Bodley Head, 1954. Print.
The Queen of Candy Drawn by W. Daniell R.A., Engraved by R. Woodman
10 January 1833
Bull and Churton (or Bull and Co.)