<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

IIIF Actions
Johan Joseph Zoffany RA, 1733–1810, German, active in Britain (from 1760)

Elephants Fighting

between 1784 and 1788
Black, white and red chalk on medium, slightly textured, blue laid paper
9 1/16 × 16 5/16 inches (23 × 41.5 cm) and 16 5/16 × 23 1/4 inches (41.5 × 59 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
animal art | elephants (animals) | entertainment
Associated Places:
India | Lucknow
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.
IIIF Manifest:

Johan Zoffany made this striking drawing, which was rediscovered in 2013, during his extended stay in India between 1783 and 1788. Only a small number of the numerous drawings he made in India are known to survive, including two fine examples already in the Center’s collection. The drawing depicts a combat between two elephants and was probably made in Lucknow, a city Zoffany found particularly congenial, and which he visited three times. At the court of Asaf-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh, such lavish spectacles, which were a source of both fascination and repugnance for European visitors, were a frequent occurrence and were typically organized for ceremonial and diplomatic purposes.

Gallery label for A Decade of Gifts and Acquisitions (Yale Center for British Art, 2017-06-01 - 2017-08-13)

A Decade of Gifts and Acquisitions (Yale Center for British Art, 2017-06-01 - 2017-08-13) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition]

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.