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February 5, 2021

Maharaja Sarabhoji Accompanied by His Minister, Tanjore, Company Style, circa 1790, Opaque water-based pigments with raised gold on board, 23 1/2 x 17 1/4 in. (60 x 44 cm.), Kapoor Galleries

来源:
Given as a gift to Lady Henrietta Clive (1758-1830) in 1800 by the Maharaja Sarabhoji (r. 1798-1832 年)。
Sophus Andreas Bergsøe (1838-1896), Aalborg circa 1880.
Thence by descent.

It seems incongruous to include an elaborate European ormolu clock in an Indian Tanjore Company Style painting of Maharaja Sarabhoji Accompanied by His Minister, circa 1790. The maharaja, depicted as a heavily bejeweled figure with an elaborate turban and side-whiskers, stands formally facing outward with the index finger of his left hand pointing downward towards his ceremonial sword, and a minister with pressed palms faces the maharaja awaiting instructions. They are framed on one side by a curtain with gold fringe and tassels and are flanked by two European-style gilt-legged tables. The clock is placed upon one of the tables. The European accoutrements of the room are inspired by European portraiture, and this portrait is painted in a style that developed in the mid-eighteenth century, which catered to the tastes of the British colonials. The raised gold is typical of Tanjore painting.

Maharaja Serfoji II of Tanjore (also known as ‘Sarabhoji,’ r. 1798-1832), the last ruler of the Maratha Bhonsle Dynasty of Tanjore, was installed by the British as the titular head of Thanjavur. He was the adopted son of Maharaja Thulajah. As a young man, he was entrusted to the care of a Danish missionary, Reverend Christian Freidrich Schwartz, who sent him to Madras for his formal education. He enjoyed an excellent relationship with the British after he acknowledged their administration of Tanjore and was then granted sovereignty over the lands surrounding the Fort of Thanjavur as well as a pension (see Archer, Rowell, and Skelton, Treasures from India: The Clive Collection at Powis Castle, London, 1987, p.124; and John Chu, Game of Thrones in an ‘Asiatic World’: Henrietta Clive and Anna Tonelli in British India, National Trust Historic Houses & Collections Annual, 2018, p. 40.).