Orpheus panel from the Diwan-i Am, Delhi Fort

Painting
ca. 1845 (painted)
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This Company Painting is from a set of five showing details of inlaid marble decoration, or pietra dura work, from the Diwan-i Am (Hall of Public Audience) in the Red Fort at Delhi. The paintings date from about 1845 and are significant because much of the original pietra dura work has now been damaged or destroyed. This painting depicts Orpheus, the son of King Oeagrus and Calliope in Greek mythology, who received a lyre from Apollo and was taught to play by the Muses. His music was so beautiful that beasts, trees and rocks were inspired to follow him. In this depiction of Orpheus his lyre is replaced anachronistically by a violin, which he is playing with a convex bow.

'Company paintings' were produced by Indian artists for Europeans living and working in the Indian subcontinent, especially British employees of the East India Company. They represent a fusion of traditional Indian artistic styles with conventions and technical features borrowed from western art. Some Company paintings were specially commissioned, while others were virtually mass-produced and could be purchased in bazaars.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour on paper
Brief Description
Painting; watercolour, Detail of pietra dura work from the Diwan-i Am, Delhi, ca. 1845
Physical Description
The Orpheus image is one of a set of five details of pietra dura work from the Diwan-i Am, Delhi Fort.
Dimensions
  • Height: 24cm
  • Width: 16cm
Style
Subjects depicted
Summary
This Company Painting is from a set of five showing details of inlaid marble decoration, or pietra dura work, from the Diwan-i Am (Hall of Public Audience) in the Red Fort at Delhi. The paintings date from about 1845 and are significant because much of the original pietra dura work has now been damaged or destroyed. This painting depicts Orpheus, the son of King Oeagrus and Calliope in Greek mythology, who received a lyre from Apollo and was taught to play by the Muses. His music was so beautiful that beasts, trees and rocks were inspired to follow him. In this depiction of Orpheus his lyre is replaced anachronistically by a violin, which he is playing with a convex bow.



'Company paintings' were produced by Indian artists for Europeans living and working in the Indian subcontinent, especially British employees of the East India Company. They represent a fusion of traditional Indian artistic styles with conventions and technical features borrowed from western art. Some Company paintings were specially commissioned, while others were virtually mass-produced and could be purchased in bazaars.
Bibliographic Reference
Archer, Mildred. Company Paintings Indian Paintings of the British period Victoria and Albert Museum Indian Series London: Victoria and Albert Museum, Maplin Publishing, 1992, 151 p ISBN 0944142303
Collection
Accession Number
292D-1871

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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