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Ranjit Singh

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Punjab Plains (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1838-ca. 1840 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by O. E. Dickinson

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is a conventional portrait of the first Sikh maharaja of the Panjab, Ranjit Singh (r.1801–1839). He is shown according to conventions derived from Mughal painting, with a halo and with a parasol held over his head by a bearer, indicating his royal status. He is shown from his right profile to conceal his blind eye, the result of childhood smallpox that also disfigured his skin. The portrait was probably painted in about 1838, when its former owner, Lord Auckland, visited the Sikh court. Lord Auckland was Governor-General of India from 1836 to 1842, and brought the painting back to England. The portrait was presented to the V&A by Lord Auckland’s great-nephew, O.E. Dickinson, in 1953.

Physical description

Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) on horseback with an attendant holding a parasol walking alongside.

Place of Origin

Punjab Plains (made)


ca. 1838-ca. 1840 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'Maharaja Runjeet Sing'

The first inscription, in English, is in the same hand as that on IS 111-1953

'sri ranjit singh'
[subject's name]
handwritten on object in Devanagari


Height: 20.9 cm painting only, Width: 13.4 cm painting only, Height: 27.4 cm with border, Width: 20.5 cm with border

Object history note

The painting was formerly in the collection of Lord Auckland, Governor-General of India from 1836-42 and was brought back to England by him in 1842. It was given to the museum by Auckland's great-nephew O.E. Dickinson.

Descriptive line

Painting, Maharaja Ranjit Singh on horseback, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Sikh, Punjab Plains, ca.1838-1840

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

cat. 6, pp. 128-129 and fig. 18.
Paintings of the Sikhs / W.G. Archer. London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1966

Production Note



Opaque watercolour; Gold; Paper



Subjects depicted

Ruler; Equestrian; Horse


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


South & South East Asia Collection

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