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Saint Cecilia

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Mughal Empire (made)

  • Date:

    first half 17th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Nini (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Lady Wantage

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Mughal emperors collected European paintings and engravings, many of which were brought to the court in the late 16th and early 17th century by successive Jesuit missions who travelled to Delhi, Agra and Lahore from Portuguese Goa. The artists employed by the emperor Akbar (r. 1556-1605) often copied these exotic works of art.This painting of the Martyrdom of Saint Cecilia is a close copy of an engraving by Jerome [Hieronymus] Wierix. The painting is mounted on a decorated page formerly bound in an album compiled for Shah Jahan.

Physical description

Painting, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, the martyrdom of Saint Cecilia. Saint Cecilia lies on the floor, expiring, in front of a female companion who reaches towards her neck and while a second moves forward with a glass bowl of water and sponge. A putto at left flies towards her carrying a crown. The nimbate figure of Christ hovers in the clouds above.

Place of Origin

Mughal Empire (made)


first half 17th century (made)


Nini (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour and gold on paper

Marks and inscriptions

'amal-e Nini'
'Work of [ie painted by] Nini'
The Persian inscription giving the name of the artist is written in black ink in the border below the painting.

Nandaram Pandit 1161 [?]
Nandaram Pandit 1161[=1748 AD]
This seal stamp in black ink appears to provide the name of an 18th century owner. The date seems to be 1161 of the Islamic era, corresponding to 1748 AD, but is slightly smudged.


Height: 13.5 cm painting, Width: 10.4 cm painting, Height: 38.3 cm page, Width: 25.8 cm page

Object history note

The painting is mounted on a page with decorated borders from an album made for the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.

Descriptive line

Painting, Martyrdom of Saint Cecilia, by Nini, opaque watercolour and gold on paper, Mughal, first half 17th century

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

Susan Stronge, Painting for the Mughal Emperor. The art of the book 1560-1660, V&A Publications, 2002, pl. 70, p. 104.
No. 30, pl. 21
Clarke, C. Stanley; Indian Drawings: Thirty Mogul Paintings of the School of Jehangir and Four Panels of Calligraphy ini the Wantage Bequest. London 1922


Paint; Opaque watercolour; Paper; Gold



Subjects depicted

Martyr; Crown; Putto; Saint; Martyrdom


Paintings; Christianity; Religion; Bonita Trust Indian Paintings Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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