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Johan Joseph Zoffany, 1733–1810
Elephants Fighting
between 1784 and 1788
Materials & Techniques:
Black, white and red chalk on medium, slightly textured, blue laid paper
Sheet: 9 1/16 × 16 5/16 inches (23 × 41.5 cm), Frame: 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
Accessible by appointment in the Study Room [Request]
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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] [Exhibition Description]

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