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  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)
    Avadh (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    first half 18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of Mr. John Goelet

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper, a group of three ladies and a young girl stand under a central tree. The two attendant ladies on the right are carrying respectively a lotus blossom and a bowl filled with flower petals. The girl appears to be greeting them with a gesture of holding out her right hand towards them while a third, taller lady, perhaps her mother, looks on and stands behind to the left of the tree with her right arm round the girl's shoulder. They all stand on a grassy foreground with clumps of wispy grass stalks painted in a darker shade of green. The shade of green lightens as it rises as a background behind the figures and the tree to the top of the painting where it is suffused with gold and purplish pink and white streaks to denote the sky. The central tree has a gnarled trunk which rises to leafy branches over the women's heads in which three pairs of red, yellow and grey birds perch, fly or nest.
The two attendants on the right wear horizontally-striped skirts with transparent spotted saris drawn over them from a full gathering at the centre of the skirt falling from their waists where the colour of the diaphanous material is clearly seen as a solid colour as against the muted tint of the material where it is seen in a single layer. The sari on the inner attendant is clearly draped round the upper part of her body and over her head. She wears a short tight choli with short sleeves as a bodice, . The other attendant is similarly dressed with the addition of a large gold-spotted mauve shawl wrapped over head and upper part of her body. All the figures have bare midriffs. The taller lady on the left has a white shawl over her diaphanous sari and the young girl's skirt and sari are partly hidden under an orange shawl which falls from under her hat to trail on the ground behind her. She is wearing a golden hat with an upright flaring brim with a black aigrette pointing up from the crown, which may denote that she is a royal princess. All the ladies are wearing much pearl and gold jewellery, including pearl nose studs, forehead pendants, necklaces and bracelets. The two figures on the left are wearing thumb and finger rings, while the two attendants have only henna to decorate theirs.
The modelling of the faces of the figures is achieved through minute stippling in black over a yellowish ground of the flesh tones, which together with a dark outline round their profiles provides a velvet-like texture. The modelling to other parts of flesh is achieved through delicate hatched lines.
The painting is framed with a narrow inner border of blue paper outlined in white, gold and black lines with a running scroll of golden leaf decoration. An outer blue line is added to the ivory ground of the outer border which is decorated with alternate red poppies and pink lilies outlined and detailed in gold. The margins of the page have strips of buff-coloured paper with an inner line in gold outlined in black and an outer line in white. This has been concealed by a crude, later over-painting in red, except on the inner edge where a crimson strip of paper acts as a gutter for the binding of the album: both treatments similar to that on the opposite page, IS.48:36/A-1956.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)
Avadh (possibly, made)


first half 18th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper


Height: 19.5 cm central painting, Width: 13.9 cm central painting, Height: 35.5 cm page, Width: 23.5 cm page

Object history note

This miniature painting is part of the Small Clive Album of Indian miniatures which is thought to have been given by Shuja ud-Daula, the Nawab of Avadh, to Lord Clive during his last visit to India in 1765-67. It contains 56 leaves on which are Mughal miniature paintings, drawing and flower studies on both sides. The binding is covered with an Indian brocade silk that may have been cut from lengths brought home by the 2nd Lord Clive, who served as Governor of Madras, 1799 to 1803. The album was sold from Powis Castle at Sotheby's sale, 16 to 18 January 1956, lot 332A.

Descriptive line

Painting, Small Clive Album p. 70, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, possibly Avadh, first half 18th century


Opaque watercolour; Paint; Paper; Gold


Painting (image-making); Collage; Painted

Subjects depicted

Costume; Tree; Women; Princesses


Paintings; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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