Daniell, Thomas (1749-1840)
Born in Kingston-upon-Thames to a Chertsey innkeeper, Daniell was trained as an apprentice coach painter before attending the Royal Academy Schools. Although he exhibited thirty works of various subjects at the Royal Academy from 1772 to 1784 (mainly landscapes and floral pieces), Daniell found it difficult to establish himself as a landscape painter in Britain. Like many other Europeans he was drawn to India by stories of the wealth and fame that awaited travellers to the newly accessible East.
In 1784, Daniell gained permission from the East India Company to travel to Calcutta as an engraver, accompanied by his nephew, William Daniell, as his assistant. They spent many years travelling, restoring pictures and producing topographical prints in the new aquatint style. The prints were incredibly popular and the Daniells made money selling them by lottery at the major cities they visited. Returning from their adventures in 1795 Thomas held many exhibitions, mainly of his Indian prints and oils, and published his Oriental Scenery collection, sponsored by the East India Company. This inspired a new style of architecture in Southern England.
He became a member of many societies and was voted Royal Academician in 1799. Thomas settled in Earl’s Terrace late on in life. Here he enjoyed his retirement from painting before dying, unmarried, at his home on 18 March 1840.