Maharani of Rajpipla

Historical period(s)
ca. 1860
Opaque watercolor, gold, and silver on paper board
H x W: 64.8 x 47.7 cm (25 1/2 x 18 3/4 in)
India, Gujarat state, Rajpipla
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds
Arthur M. Sackler Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view


India, maharani, portrait, princess

To 1994
Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd., New York City, to 1994 [1]

From 1994
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, purchased from Terence McInerney Fine Arts Ltd. in 1994


[1] The Portrait of Gambhir Singh (S1994.10.1) was included in the official exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1985, the central event of the Festival of India. The exhibition was organized and co-sponsored by the Government of India (according to Provenance Remark 1, Milo C. Beach, May 25, 1994, in the object record).

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Terence McInerney Fine Arts, Ltd.


Upon the introduction of photography into India, court painters in northwest India responded to changing tastes by incorporating the new medium's visual sensibility into royal portraiture. These paintings' shaded volumes, subdued tones, and three-quarter views announce their accommodation with the new technology.

While the maharaja's portrait can be understood as a stylistic shift within a continuous tradition of royal portraiture (see S1994.10.1), the queen's image significantly departs from custom. Royal women typically dwelt in seclusion from the public and their portraits had been, by necessity, idealized. The image upon which the maharani's painted portrait is based may have been produced by one of the female photographic studios that emerged in this period for the purpose of photographing highborn women.

Published References
  • Stuart Cary Welch. India: Art and Culture, 1330-1900. Exh. cat. New York. 292.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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