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Simon Ray Limited

India (Murshidabad), circa 1760-1770
Height: 35 cm
Width: 25 cm

Opaque watercolour heightened with gold on paper, mounted on an album leaf within a border lightly speckled in green.

Inscribed in English to the lower border:

“The great Nabob Ali Veidy Khan and his brother Hadgee Mahmud”

with a similar inscription on the reverse.

‘Alivardi Khan, Nawab of Bengal, is seated on a white marble terrace overlooking the river, a falcon perched on his leather-gloved right hand. He sits on a green carpet with a pink border and leans against a pink and green bolster with gold floral sprigs and tassels. Pink cushions on either side ensure the Nawab’s comfort. Behind him, an attendant stands guard. The attendant carries a peacock feather fan (morchal). A thrust-dagger (katar) is tucked into his sash (patka).

Seated in conversation facing ‘Alivardi Khan is a nobleman identified by the inscription as his brother, Hadji Mahmud. He sits respectfully off the carpet yet leans into it, subtly implying at once both the intimacy of a relative and the subordinate position of a courtier in front of the ruler. All three figures are clad in white garments that integrate harmoniously with the white marble terrace, the Nawab’s sumptuous yet restrained clothes and jewels thrown into relief by the piquant colours of the carpet and cushions. The faces are all painted with exquisite refinement.

all text, images © Simon Ray Limited


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