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The alien landscapes and ancient buildings of India were made more familiar to Western eyes by drawing analogies with ancient Greece and Rome. In its form and style, Hodges’ picture is very like a conventional view of an Italian landscape with its antique ruins.

Such scenes were the speciality of the painter Richard Wilson, who had been Hodges’ teacher. Like a number of painters facing an ever more competitive art market at home, Hodges looked further afield for work. He travelled to India in the early 1780s.

September 2004