Court of Maharaja Ranjit Singh
The hill states of Guler, Nurpur, and Kangra came under Sikh rule in the early 19th century. Thus many artists working in the courts of these Pahari rulers started working for Sikh patrons, as testified by the painting of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the ambitious Sikh ruler who captured Lahore in 1799 ce and soon became powerful in north India.
The painting shows a courtly scene, apparently on a terrace or courtyard of the palace, as the group is sitting under a canopy. The Maharaja is seated here in the company of his choicest courtiers, whose names are written above or on their turbans. The person kneeling in front of Ranjit Singh with folded hands is Raja Dhyan Singh. In the front row are seated Hira Singh, Sidh Singh, and Gulab Singh. The young boy near the railing is Pratap Singh. Standing behind Dhyan Singh are Suchet Singh, Tahan Singh, Jit Singh, and Kesar Singh. Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s heir-apparent Kharak Singh, youngest son Naunihal Singh, and Gulab Singh’s son Udham Singh sit on his right. Behind him are Labh Singh, Prithi Singh, Sohan Singh, and the chauri (flywhisk) bearer whose name is illegible.
Sir D. J. Tata Collection.
Indian Miniature Paintings
Opaque watercolour on paper
30.4 x 25.5 cm (with border), 24.4 x 20 cm (without border)