Raja Shamsher Prakash

Raja Shamsher Prakash (1846, r. 1856-1898) with His Wife and Child
Simur, 1869

Opaque pigments with gold on paper
Image: 20 x 24 cm
Folio: 26.4 x 30.2 cm

The eerily symmetric interior and border decoration featured in this composition create the perfect frame for the three subjects of this elegant family portrait. The man, who was identified by an English inscription on the original frame of the work as Raja Shamsher Prakash, smokes from his hookah, while his wife holds their young child, Surendra Prakash. The child has just dropped his rattle, perhaps more interested in the apple in his father’s hand.

The small state of Simur is known to have had an active painting tradition throughout the first half of the 19th century, however no paintings as late as the present example have so far come to light. The young Surendra Prakash could be no older than two years of age here allowing us to date the work to around 1869.