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Raja Balwant Singh

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Jammu (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1750 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nainsukh (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Painting, in opaque watercolour on paper, Raja Balwant Singh, with a huqqa and attendants, examining a horse. Balwant Singh is depicted wearing a dark green jama and green and crimson conical turban, sits on a gold throne with purple cushions, holding a huqqa. Behind him stand four attendants in dark yellow, dark green, mauve and slate-blue jamas holding respectively a peacock feather fan, a sword and a black shield. Two courtiers in pale yellow and white jams sit on a red rug with brown stripes, on a white terrace with balustrade containing rectangular compartments. Behind the party is a white wall with gold-coloured door. Below the terrace, a groom in white, ankle-length jama parades a chocolate-coloured stallion with black mane, tail and legs and orange saddle edged with green. Behind the horse stretches a large brownish-mauve courtyard, with streaks of green. In the distance is a long wall from which a small house projects, containing a verandah covered with a red rug, a grey wall, white cushions and a white blind, striped with crimson. On either side are two shuttered windows, to the right are two grooms conducting two horses, one grey, the other brown.

In this portrait, an atmosphere of courtly luxury is invoked, Balwant Singh being shown with calm dignity seated on a richly-decorated throne, the whole surroundings bespeaking the spacious comfort of a large and flourishing establishment. The throne with its two tiger heads is especially significant, since it vividly expresses his own sense of private grandeur. Despite the remains of a courtyard in the palace ruins at Saruin, the present building is more probably the large mansion which he may have owned in Jammu and where he would probably have lived while assisting his eldest brother, Raja Ranjit Dev, in the early years of the latter's return from exile.

Place of Origin

Jammu (made)


ca. 1750 (made)


Nainsukh (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'miyan mukund de sher shikar karan phirde likh de amal kachni he'
'Mian Mukand Dev portrayed on a riding picnic. Amal is the singing-girl'
inscribed in Takri characters on top border; there is also an additional illegible inscription


Height: 292 mm, Width: 386 mm, Height: 352 mm paper mount onto which object attached; also absolute maximum dimension of object, Width: 501 mm paper mount onto which object attached; also absolute maximum dimension of object, Height: 245 mm image within innermost painted borders, Width: 340 mm paper mount onto which object attached; also absolute maximum dimension of object

Object history note

From the collection of Dr W.B.Manley, Guildford. Formerly in the possession of Durgi Raina, Pacca Danga, Jammu.

Descriptive line

Painting, Raja Balwant Singh, by Nainsukh, opaque watercolour on paper, Jammu, ca. 1750

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

Topsfield, Andrew, cat. no. 164
Skelton, Robert, et al, The Indian Heritage. Court life and Arts under Mughal Rule London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982
p. 38, cat. no. 31
Topsfield, Andrew, An introduction to Indian Court Painting, H.M.S.O., London, 1984, 0112903835
p. 200, cat. no. 34
Indian paintings from the Punjab Hills : a survey and history of Pahari miniature painting / by W. G. Archer ; foreword by Sherman E. Lee. London :Delhi: Sotheby Parke Bernet ;Oxford University Press, 1973 Number: 0856670022


Paint; Opaque watercolour; Paper



Subjects depicted

Huqqa; Servants; Ruler; Horse


Paintings; Animals and Wildlife; Portraits; Royalty; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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