Feeding the Parrot
Pestonji Bomanji is known for his intimate portrayals of the daily and religious life of the Parsis. In many of his works his models are family: brother, wife and children appear in different roles. The lady feeding the parrot in this painting is his wife Jiloobai in traditional homely attire. The child clinging to her could be his daughter. It is afternoon, a time of leisure for the housewife.
This painting was done at Ajanta, when Bomanji was working on a project of copying the murals. Some images from Ajanta can be seen in the background, indicative of provenance and Bomanji’s preoccupation at the time. The images are rendered meticulously and they record the details in subdued colours.The painting’s treatment is naturalistic.
Pestonji Bomanji was born in 1851 and he joined the newly opened Sir J. J. School of Art in 1864. Initially he studied sculpture under Lockwood Kipling, father of renowned English writer Rudyard Kipling. He then studied painting under John Griffith. Bomanji was the first portrait painter of the Bombay School. In 1905, he painted oil portraits of King George V and Queen Mary (The then Prince and Princess of Wales) for publication in the Times of India Album. He was a recipient of the Viceroy’s Gold Medal in 1879 and 1893.
Pestonji Bomanji (1851-1938 CE)
Oil on canvas
Dated 1882 CE
76.5 x 61 cms.