Maharana Sarup Singh at Target Practice
By the artist Tara
Udaipur, Mewar, Rajasthan, dated 1855-56.
Opaque watercolour and gold on paper
22.5 x 36 cm
Inscriptions in Devanagari script
In his forthcoming exhibition, Prahlad Bubbar presents his most recent acquisitions of Indian paintings at his gallery in Mayfair, London. The collection celebrates the pastimes and passions of India’s kings, with works dating from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century.
Of particular importance is a previously unpublished collection of paintings from the kingdom of Mewar, Rajasthan. With its capital at Udaipur, Mewar is home to one of the most celebrated and longstanding traditions in the history of Indian painting. Known for their opulent court culture and formidable martial history, the Maharanas were keen patrons of the arts. A particular highlight is a painting of Maharana Sangram Singh (r.1710-34) hunting boar in a mountainous landscape. It is a fine example of the vitality and drama that characterised Mewar painting in the early eighteenth century, with its expansive setting and detailed multiple narratives.
The collection also highlights the great beauty and technical refinement achieved by artists working in the nineteenth century. Of considerable importance are three signed works by Tara, the leading court artist at Udaipur during the reign of Maharana Sarup Singh (r.1842-61). In addition are two life-size portraits of a boar and a tiger on cloth. As hunting trophies they document specific animals killed, with markings to display the exact locations of their wounds. They are rare survivors, unusual in their scale and precious examples of a tradition that celebrated the skill of the hunter through the illustration of his conquests. The animals themselves are portrayed with sensitivity and vitality.
The exhibition presents other significant works from across India. Of particular note is a Mughal portrait of the Persian Emperor Nadir Shah (r.1736-1747), whose devastating sack of Delhi in 1739 signalled the twilight of Mughal hegemony in India. Once in the collection of Major Thomas Pearson (d.1740-81), an esteemed member of the Bengal Establishment and supporter of Lord Clive, it is a work of great beauty and elegance. It is also illustrative of the heights achieved by later Mughal artists under the patronage the Emperor Muhammad Shah (r. 1719-1748).
Prahlad Bubbar is a dealer and consultant of Indian art. He is a specialist in Indian miniature paintings from 1400-1900 and widely respected in the field for his knowledge.
All works are for sale. Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11am-6pm, Sunday by appointment.
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