Inscription in old Takri on the reverse: Sri Rani Valauri di Surati The likeness of the exalted Balauria Queen
In the portrait of Rani Balauria we have a miniature of quite unusual interest. The queen appears to be a young girl of about eighteen, and assuming she was twelve at the time of her marriage in 1759, the most likely date for the present
painting would be circa 1765. In any event, the painting cannot, on stylistic grounds, be assigned to a period later than the third quarter of the 18th century, and accordingly the inscription must refer to Amrit Pal’s queen. It should be noted that a
concession to the orthodox Basohli kalam has been made in the use of the broad red borders which surround the miniature. The background is uncoloured. The queen herself, however, is dressed in the Mughal manner, and affects the yellow and purple turban which was in vogue at the Imperial capitals amongst ladies of rank during the 18th century. Standard types seen in the painting were much favoured in Guler during Prakash Chand’s reign (1773–90).
The painting is unfinished, but the old Takri inscription thereon is obviously contemporary. It seems to have been a common practice to write inscriptions on paintings before they were completed. These inscriptions probably served the
purpose of an identification tag when the artists had several pictures in hand at the same time and were being aided by family members or pupils in their completion.
Karl & Meherbai Khandalavala Collection
Indian Miniature Paintings
attributed to Manaku
Opaque watercolour on paper
19.4 x 13.3 cm (with border), 16.1 x 10.8 cm (without border)