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Gate Caravan Serai India aquatint William Hodges

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A View of the Gate of the Caravan Serai, at Raje Mahel


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Original antique topographical print


Hodges description is as follows: 'A View of the Gate of the Caravan-Serai, at Rajemahal, in the Province of Bengal - This Serai contains a Space of about an Acre and a Half of Ground, and is inclosed by a wall: Round the Sides of the Wall is a Covering for the lodging of Travellers. By the Munificence of the Princes and other great Men, all the Countries in the East have public Buildings of this Kind, there being no private Inns. This serai was built by the unfortunate Sultan Sujah, the third Son of the Emperor Shah Jehan : When Nabob of Bengal, he made Rajemahel the Capital of the Kingdom ; and, by what remains of the Buildings, a high idea may be formed of the Magnificence of that Prince, and of his Taste for Architecture. The Gate is almost perfect. The Remains of the Palace extend some Miles round the present City: It was destroyed by Fire in the Reign of Sultan Sujah. In the Contest for Empire between the Sons of Shah Jehan, Sultan Sujah was defeated by his Brother Aurungzebe, at the Village of Kedgwah, in the Dooab, on the 6th of January, 1659: Thence retiring into Bengal, he was finally driven out by the Vizier Emir Jumlah ; and seeking Shelter in Arracan, he was, at first, hospitably received; but some Disturbances breaking out, he was compelled to leave that Country. His Fate afterwards is uncertain : It was generally supposed that he either perishd, or was killed in crossing the Mountains which surround Arracan. His Name was afterwards assumed by Persons who appeared in different Parts of India. I am obliged to the ingenious Mr Dalrymple. for the following particulars, after Sultan Sujan left Arracan : _When that Gentleman was at the Island of Sooloo, in the China Seas, in the Year 1761, in Conversation with the Sultan, he was told, that Sultan Sujah had lived many Years on that Island, where he died. The Tomb was then remaining, bearing his Name, near the Town of Sooloo. After escaping from Arracan, he gained Siam, and from Siam he came to Sooloo, where he resided many years in a private Station, and unknown, with a single Attendant, who, before his Death, revealed who the Stranger was.' CONDITION: Very good, some faint spotting in lower margin outside platemark. Mounted with conservation museum board and backing.

Additional Information

artist William Hodges RA
method Aquatint
date 1785
size 420mm by 560mm (sheet)