Udayan Daniel Ghose : 4 April 1959 – 21 November 2021

After a long career in finance, Daniel came back to Oxford in 2016 to read for the M.St. in Oriental Studies, concentrating on Mughal painting and the Persian language. His Master’s dissertation, "Co-opting Christian Symbolism: Dynastic Mythology and Illuminationist Ideology in Imperial Mughal Portraiture of the 16th and 17th Centuries”, was fascinating to supervise, and Daniel bore my almost complete ignorance of the subject with the greatest courtesy, patience and respect for my insistence upon academic rigour.

When he went on to begin a D.Phil. thesis on a little known Khamsa of Nizāmī under the external supervision of Charles Melville, Daniel was kind enough to ask for me to be his internal supervisor, and I was delighted to accept. Daniel's enthusiasm for his research was highly contagious, although it flared in short bursts, between his many other responsibilities and interests.

His love and care for his family — his parents, his daughter, who read for a BA in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at the same time that Daniel did his M.St., and his wife, with whom he was restoring a castle in Spain — was always evident in our meetings.

It was from Thames Valley Police that I learned of one of his other interests. They were anxious to speak to Daniel about minor traffic offences committed in a vintage sports car. Daniel was immensely embarrassed that I had been troubled in this manner, but soon grew no less expansive about this other passion that he was about Mughal painting.

I knew that Daniel was ill, but had no news of him since September 2021, so that it was only when Jane Kruz found the website of The Vintage Sports Car Club of America that we learned that Daniel had died, less than two months after our last email — below, I quote two obituary notices that give an entirely different perspective upon the life of a charming, eccentric and remarkable student who was sadly prevented from realising his full potential as a scholar of Mughal painting.

I miss Daniel: the KRC did not see him often, but whenever he did appear, he made it a happier and more interesting place.

Jeremy Johns 28 June 2022

"Daniel Ghose sadly passed away in London after a two year battle with cancer. I was fortunate to be able to see him many times during his illness and he always mentioned how disappointed he was to be missing so many VSCCA friends and events. He introduced me to the VSCCA, sponsored my membership, had his great friend Victor Cromie second my application, and introduced me to numerous friends in the historic car world. Always a vibrant member of the club, he continued to be himself to the last. Perhaps it is fitting then, that the last conversation I had with him was when he called to chat about his latest car news, and to congratulate me on my debut at the Goodwood Revival in September.

Dan and I enjoyed many adventures together and he generously shared his cars with me. We did a vintage Bentley tour in Maine, took his Dino 246 GT on track during the Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach, drove his 1934 Maserati 4CM Voiturette single seater at Silverstone and did the London to Brighton run together. As we were neighbors in Connecticut, I was also fortunate to be able to drive many of his cars over the years, including his Jaguar D-type and 1934 Aston Martin 2-litre Le Mans, as well as sampling his ex-Brooklands 1936 Lagonda team car, EPE 97, at over ’the ton’ on the quiet rural roads of Litchfield County.

A gentleman racer and enthusiast to the last, Dan also self-appointed himself as Godfather to my son Julian – a role which he took on with the vigor and thoroughness that will be familiar to anyone that knew him. He is survived by his daughter Maya, who many of you will know from the numerous VSCCA events that she attended with her father, usually in his 1928 Bentley 4 1/2 or his red 1934 Aston Martin. His wife Ana Polo, a vintage car collector and daughter of the late Hispano-Suiza expert Emilio Polo, resides in London and plans to hold a memorial service at the Royal Automobile Club in Pall Mall next year.

Simon Aldridge: London, 30th November 2021

Being a little younger in the hobby, it’s hard to remember a time pre-Dan! I recall selling cars to and for him in the mid-1990s when the industry was just not as international as it is today and a client from New York buying a big FIAT really was a novelty. From then onwards, I must have seen him dozens of times a year, his interests were far and wide in the hobby, and he was genuinely one of the few who participated in almost all of them, be it a cold Brighton Run, or racing at Lime Rock or Laguna. He had boundless enthusiasm for each aspect the same, and particularly I found for research. He seemed to be able to turn up remarkable new information about cars that had been in circulation for years!

We really will miss his energy and passion for the hobby, and he will leave a gap in many grids and rosters around the world.

Rupert Banner: Bonhams New York, 30th November 2021


Photograph of Udayan Daniel Ghose at the wheel