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Raja Dhian Singh

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Punjab Plains (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1830-1835 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Raja Dhian Singh (1796–1843) was the Hindu prime minister during the reign of the first Sikh maharaja of the Panjab, Ranjit Singh. He was the second son of Mian Kishora Singh Dogra, and the middle one of three brothers from Jammu who served the maharaja. He became chamberlain of the royal household in 1818, took part in military campaigns and was awarded many honours and grants of land.

After Ranjit Singh’s death, Dhian Singh became caught up in intrigues at court over the acquisition of power and influence. He assassinated Chet Singh, the most trusted courtier of Ranjit Singh’s son and successor, Kharak Singh, who was then slowly poisoned. On the day of Kharak Singh’s death the following year, his son and heir was also killed, leaving Sher Singh, Ranjit Singh’s second son, to rule with Dhian Singh’s support. Sher Singh was likewise assassinated, by another court faction, in September 1843, and soon afterwards Dhian Singh was also murdered.

Physical description

Painting, in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Raja Dhian Singh (1796-1843) on a hawking expedition. He rides a roan stallion and is attended by a group of fourteen footmen, armed with swords, lances and guns. Three riders follow him; the nearest, a youth, carries a falcon, two others wield lances. Dhian Singh and a footman are carrying hawks.

Place of Origin

Punjab Plains (made)


ca. 1830-1835 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper


Height: 22.8 cm painting only, Width: 25.0 cm painting only, Height: 28.6 cm with border, Width: 32.0 cm with border

Object history note

The painting was purchased by the V&A in 1960 from the estate of Mrs F.B.P. Lory.

Descriptive line

Painting, Raja Dhian Singh on hawking expedition, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Punjab Plains, ca. 1830-1835

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

pp. 123-5, ill. fig. n9
Paintings of the Sikhs / W.G. Archer. London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1966
p. 18
Hats from India / Rosemary Crill. [London]: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1985 Number: 0948107308

Production Note



Opaque watercolour; Paint; Paper; Gold



Subjects depicted

Parasols; Turbans; Horses; Men; Riding (horseback riding); Spears; Birds of prey; Shields (armor); Sikhism; Equestrians; Umbrellas; Hunters; Dogs; Hunting; Hawk; Clothing


Images Online; Paintings; Sikhism; Royalty; Hunting; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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