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Title: Maharaja Sher Singh in Council

Classification: Oil painting

Artist(s): August Schoefft (1809–1888)

Date: 1841–1855

Dimensions: H. 18 in. x W. 24 in.

Museum number: S.M.53 (N.M.1961.333) 

Physical location: Section 5: Rani Jindan's Haveli

Collection: Princess Bamba Collection

Inscriptions: On the bottom border of the frame: “MAHARAJA SHERE SINGH In Council. by Aug: Schoefft."

Bibliographic Reference(s):
F. A. Khan, The Princess Bamba Collection Catalogue: Antiquities of Sikh Period (Lahore: Department of Archaeology, 1961), plate III (cat. no. 5).

F. S. Aijazuddin, Sikh Portraits by European Artists (Karachi: OUP, 1979), plate IV.

This oil painting shows Maharaja Sher Singh (1807–1843) seated with his nobles in a pavilion in the Lahore Fort. The details of the white marble screen set within a cusped arch behind Sher Singh are almost identical in shape and design to the screen in the rear central room of the Sheesh Mahal apartments. Shah Jahan’s court chronicler Abdul Hamid Lahori refers to this room as the “Tambī-khāna”. For details of different sections of the Sheesh Mahal, see Nadhra Shahbaz Khan, “Ayina-Kari in the Sheesh Mahal, Lahore Fort: Issues of Attribution, Appreciation and Interpretation,” in Artibus Asiae, 78, (2), (2018): 181– 222.

Maharaja Sher Singh is shown reclining against a red bolster. The person to his left, presumably his Prime Minister, Raja Dhyan Singh (1796–1843), seems to be briefing him on important matters.  Seated in two rows facing each other in front of Sher Singh are his courtiers. In the right corner two children are seen engaged in a playful tussle.

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