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A mistress in European dress

early 18th century


Unknown Artist

No image
  • Details

    Other Title
    A mistress dressed in European costume attended by two maidens
    Place where the work was made
    Provincial Mughal circa 1748 - circa 1860 → India
    early 18th century
    Media category
    Materials used
    drawing with colouring and goldleaf on gazelle skin
    17.5 x 8.3 cm
    Gift of Dr Jim Masselos 2022
    Not on display
    Accession number
  • 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. Queens and princesses were also the subjects of portraits, but the other women of the court were more frequently shown in the context of formulaic scenes were individuals and groups of women were shown at rest or leisure in their quarters. Because this type of painting was regularly commissioned by a male patron these scenes often conveyed a sense of idleness and longing, inferring that the women depicted were in need or were awaiting a male companion. Likewise, images of women dressing, bathing or dancing were designed for the pleasure of men. During the Mughal period, European pictorial conventions and subjects were embraced by the court painters and so it is not uncommon to see Mughal court scenes that include aspects of European life and fashion.

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication