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  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    1556-1605 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Europeans first came to the Mughal empire in the late 1570s. By the early 1600s, there was regular contact between the Mughal court and Portuguese Goa, and merchants and adventurers came overland or by sea from Europe. A few of them took up residence at court. Their presence led to the occasional appearance of European figures in Mughal paintings or on the border decoration of manuscripts.

This painting, which on stylistic grounds dates to about 1610, is unlikely to be a contemporary portrait of a 17th-century European visitor to the Mughal court, however. Details of his dress (the pinked boots and the open-fronted ruff) are seen in European portraits of the 1580s, while the hilt of the rapier may date from as early as the 1560s, suggesting that the Mughal artist used a painting as his model.

Physical description

Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, of a European standing in an Indian landscape. He is bearded and wears a black velvet hat, red velvet doublet over a shirt with open-fronted white ruff, and baggy orange trousers tucked into his soft leather boots. He has a green cloak draped over one shoulder, and rests his right hand on a straight-bladed sword.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)


1556-1605 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper


Height: 29.5 cm, Width: 18.3 cm

Object history note

The painting was bought by the museum from the renowned dealer Mr Imre Schwaiger in 1914.

Descriptive line

Painting, portrait of a European, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, 1556-1605 (Akbar period)

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Susan Stronge, Painting for the Mughal Emperor. The Art of the Book 1560-1650, V&A Publications, 2002, pl. 105, p. 139;

Guy, J., and Swallow, D., (eds). ‘Arts of India: 1550-1900’. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1990. ISBN 1851770224, p.153, pl.131.
Susan Stronge, in Jay A. Levenson, ed., Encompassing the Globe. Portugal and the World in the 16th & 17th Centuries, Reference Catalogue, cat. 1.8, p. 111.
p. 36, cat. no. 10
Swallow, D., Stronge, S., Crill, R., Koezuka, T., editor and translator, "The Art of the Indian Courts. Miniature Painting and Decorative Arts", Victoria & Albert Museum and NHK Kinki Media Plan, 1993.
pl. 32
Irwin, John C., Indian Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1968

Subjects depicted

Man; Landscape; Cloak; Building; Sword


Images Online; Paintings; Portraits; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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