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Title

Raja on elephant

19th century

Artists

Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Place where the work was made
    Kangra Himachal Pradesh India
    Date
    19th century
    Media categories
    Miniature , Painting , Watercolour
    Materials used
    opaque watercolour on paper
    Dimensions
    27.8 x 33.6 cm
    Credit
    Gift of Dr Nigel and Mrs Norma Hawkins 2010. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
    Location
    Not on display
    Accession number
    26.2010
    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 or battle 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

  • Provenance

    Isaacs Gallery Ltd., pre 1990s, Toronto/Ontario/Canada

    Dr Nigel and Mrs Norma Hawkins, early 1990s-Feb 2010, Toronto/Ontario/Canada, moved to France early 1990s, moved to Australia late 1990s. Gift to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Feb 2010.