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Painting - A cook and his wife

A cook and his wife

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Tanjore (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1770 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Opaque watercolour on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

One of thirty-six paintings of castes and occupations of South India showing a man and wife with the attributes of their trade. Inscribed on border at bottom in English, with name of caste or occupation: all the paintings were mounted in an album with a watermark, J. Ruse 1799, and a bookplate bearing the name of Joseph Whatley and the Latin motto 'Pelle Timorem' (banish fear).
All the paintings have a red border, a strip of tangled cloud at the top, heavy looped shadows attached to the feet, and a dark green ground. However, they appear to be by three different hands: one with strongly-drawn figures against a Yellow background, one with more detailed figures against a deep blue background, and a third with weaker figures against green and blue backgrounds.

Physical description

A cook and his wife, the man in a purple jacket with yellow lacings holding a chicken and a kettle; the woman holding a basket and a fish. One of a series of thirty-six paintings of castes and occupations of South India.

Place of Origin

Tanjore (made)


ca. 1770 (painted)



Materials and Techniques

Opaque watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

Inscribed: Cook-Boy. No. 2
English; Roman; On lower border


Height: 34 cm, Width: 25 cm

Descriptive line

Painting; Gouache, A cook and his wife, Tanjore, ca. 1770

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

Archer, Mildred. Company Paintings Indian Paintings of the British period
Victoria and Albert Museum Indian Series London: Victoria and Albert Museum, Maplin Publishing, 1992, 46 p. ISBN 0944142303


Gouache; Paper



Subjects depicted

Cook; Chicken


Indian Company Paintings; Paintings


South & South East Asia Collection

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