Maharaja Pratap Singh (1763, r.1788-1798)
by Sitaram, Kishangarh court artist
circa 1780 CE
Gouache on paper
6.1 x 3.6 in. (15.5 x 9.1 cm.)
Front: “Shri Shri Maharaja Partap Singhji Bahadur Mushwar Sitaram”
Done in a folksy Kishangarh style, this portrait shows Maharaja Pratap Singh of Kishangarh practicing archery. Pratap Singh was an ambitious ruler and with the support of his cousin, Maharaja Man Singh, he tried to conquer the Jaipur and Jodhpur gaddi but could never succeed. He also lost and found Roopangarh from Amar Singh of Kakredi (?) and inhibited a Maratha attack for which he had to reconcile with his Jodhpur kinsmen.
Sitaram was the son of the famed Kishangarh painter Nihal Chand. Though this portrait is not amongst the finest specimens of refined Kishangarh qalam, but the colour scheme and features of the portrait, especially the arched eye and long, sharp nose keeps up with the style and period; this could very likely have been a study work of the artist.