A horse and groom

Artist: Sheikh Muhammad Amir (19th century)
Historical period(s)
ca. 1840
Company School
Opaque watercolor, pencil and ink with touches of white and gum arabic
H x W: 28 x 44.5 cm (11 x 17 1/2 in)
India, West Bengal state, Kolkata (Calcutta)
Credit Line
Purchase — Smithsonian Unrestricted Trust Funds
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Album, Painting

Album leaf with painting

horse, India
Provenance research underway.

Sheikh Muhammad Amir of Karraya (a suburb of Calcutta), the greatest of the Calcutta Company School painters, specialized in portraying the domestic lives of the British in India. Collected in albums, his paintings record prized possessions and testify to British efforts to recreate their customs in an unfamiliar land.

The renowned artist's most powerful paintings are those that depict horses and grooms. Although the subject is traditional--court painters had long produced images of favorite horses for Indian royalty--the accomplished shading and textures, accurate anatomy, and cast shadows evince Sheikh Muhammad Amir's mastery of the new style. Here, his subtle balance of emphatic silhouette with exquisite detail results in a refined image with an almost disturbing air of stillness.

Published References
  • Christie's (London). Visions of India. London, October 5, 1999. lot 114, p. 83.
  • Milo Cleveland Beach. The Imperial Image: Paintings for the Mughal Court., 2nd ed. Washington and Ahmedabad, India, 2012. cat. 61, p. 191.
Collection Area(s)
South Asian and Himalayan Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.