Portrait of a Sri Lankan Tamil

Samuel Daniell British

Not on view

This sensitive portrait of an unidentified Sri Lankan man of Tamil descent is a rare surviving sketch from the short-lived career of Samuel Daniell (1775–1811) younger brother of William Daniell (1769–1837) and nephew of Thomas Daniell (1749–1840), renowned illustrators of Indian landscapes and monuments in the late 18th century. The diminutive scale of this drawing suggests that it is a page from a sketchbook, and its freshness of execution and the artist’s empathy for his subject all point to this being a study from life. It reveals an artist at ease with his subject, creating a portrait that conveys the dignity and self-esteem to the anonymous sitter, whose proud demeanor is immediately apparent.

Portrait of a Sri Lankan Tamil, Samuel Daniell (British, 1775–1811), Watercolor and graphite on paper, Sri Lanka

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