Baba Shree Padma Pant

Baba Shree Padma Pant
by Bhairav
Gwalior, 1874

Opaque pigments with gold on paper
Image: 33 x 24.6 cm

Inscription: (back) Baba Shri Padma Pant Tasubanjana, Tasdik Aghan vid 14 Shanivaar 1831, dastakhat Bhairav.

The handsomely caparisoned horse with its regal feathered plum might lead one to believe that the sitter in our portrait was a royal figure, however the inscription on the verso informs us that he is a well learned and respected elder courtier. He must have been, judging from his clothing and the general style of the painting, a member of Jayaji Rao Sindhia (cat. 46), the Maharaja of Gwalior’s inner circle. Padma is shown here wearing his angarkha untied to help combat the scorching summer heat. A slightly earlier portrait of Jayaji Rao Sindhia in the Binney Collection at the SDMA depicts a young Jayaji Rao Sindhia preparing for a hunt1. The style of the SDMA picture, which is signed by the leading Gwalior artist of the time, Imam Bakhsh, is fairly similar to our portrait. One notices the peculiar and highly decorative manner in which the horse’s mane is braided in both pictures.

1. 1990.1023.