Mian Ishwari Singh of Reh

Mian Ishwari Singh of Reh (r. 1830-1859)
Nurpur or Reh, 1840

Opaque pigments with gold on paper
Image: 18 x 9.3 cm
Folio: 24.1 x 15 cm

Inscription: (back) Miyan Ishwari Singh Sirmoria.

Mian Ishwari Singh was the ruler of the small jagir of Reh in Kangra district and a descendant of Raja Fateh Singh of Nurpur (1735-70). Since Raja Fateh Singh’s second son, Indar Singh, who was Ishwari Singh’s grandfather, was born around the same time as the heir apparent, Prithvi Singh, there was controversy about who was older. To avoid conflict, it was arranged for Indar Singh to marry a Kangra princess and move to her estate in Reh.

Because of these historical ties between the two states, Kangra painting, particularly the style practiced by Purkhu and his workshop, heavily influenced later Nurpur painting. Based on two early portraits of Indar Singh, Archer even speculated that Indar may have maintained Nurpur artists while domiciled in Kangra state. Our portrait, which is of a slightly later date, still shows considerable Kangra influence.

A portrait of Mian Kishan Singh of Reh, Ishwari Singh’s son and successor, is also featured in this exhibition (cat. 43).