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Title

A rajah of Bikaner

18th century

Artists

Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Title
    Nobleman
    Place where the work was made
    Bikaner Rajasthan India
    Period
    Rajput circa 1500 - 1947 → India
    Date
    18th century
    Media categories
    Miniature , Painting , Watercolour
    Materials used
    opaque watercolour with gold on paper
    Dimensions
    22.4 x 15.3 cm image; 23 x 17.6 cm sheet
    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Credit
    Bequest of Mr J. Kitto 1986
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    115.1986
    Copyright

    Reproduction requests

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  • About

    Portraits of the royal ruler and his associates were among the most popular of all Indian painting commissions. Under Mughal patronage, realistic portraits were preferred. However, they did not show concern for the effects of light and shade and instead emphasised the features of the face and clothing through detailed brush work.

    Once the outward form and the accompanying pictorial motifs, like a sword or a book used to indicate the ruler’s attributes, triumphs or character were established by a master they were copied by others thus establishing a convention and an easily recognisable portrait of the ruler. In this way portraits of nobility and courtiers were made within an established set of standard compositions. These forms even survived into the Company School patronised by the British rulers and officers of the East India Company.

    For instance, portraits set in the palace usually show the ruler against a plain background, standing looking out from a window, separated from his subjects, or relaxing seated against a bolster on a mat, maybe even smoking a hookah. In outdoor setting he might be seen mounted on a horse or elephant leading the hunt as a sign of his power and leadership, or seated with a lover, holding a flower as a sign of his cultured and sensitive nature.

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

    • Indian Painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 06 Apr 2001–11 Jun 2001

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication

    • Haema Sivanesan, Indian painting, 'Indian Painting', verso of poster., Sydney, 2001. cat.no. 2.14 In this publication this work is titled 'Portrait of a rajah'.