Raja Dhurb Dev (r. 1703-d. 1725)
signed by Uttam
Opaque pigments with gold on paper
Image: 19.3 x 13 cm
Folio: 21.8 x 16 cm
Inscription: (front) Shri Raja Dhurb Dev Jamwal; (back) Likhtam Uttam
According to Ganeshdas Badehra, the author of the Rajdarshani, an important history of the Jammu rulers written in 1847, Dhrub Dev wielded an enormous amount of power in the north, virtually becoming an independent ruler during the early 18th century. We know he granted asylum to Ugar Singh of Chamba and helped him gain the Chamba throne in 1720. He is also said to have absorbed Bahu and brought Jasrota, Basohli, Mankot, and Bandralta under Jammu control.
Portraits of Dhurb Dev can be found in the V&A, Fondation Custodia, and private collections in India. In his most famous portrait, a Lucknow work of c. 1760-70 by the artist Patak Chand, he is depicted seated on a terrace smoking a hookah, along with Raja Anand Dev of Bahu1. Our portrait was painted on recycled paper from an artist sketch sheet and several interesting scenes of men on boats are visible in the thinly painted border.
B.N. Goswamy notes that a painter by the name of Uttam received mention as a distant relative of the Kangra/Mandi painter Sajnu in a Haridwar bahi2.
1. Johnson Album 1, no.18, See Toby Falk and Mildred Archer, Indian Miniatures in the India Office Library, Pg. 439.
2. B.N. Goswamy and Eberhard Fischer, Masters of Pahari painting, pg. 319, note 22.