Inscribed above in nasta’liq: Raja Chitter Sen maqam-i Bardvan and Burdwan Raja Chitter Sain
Private collection, USA
The Raja dressed all in white and cream save for a brocade patka and turban-band sits on a rug on a terrace holding a flower. He is supported by cream cushions and a cream and red bolster embroidered with flowers. His spittoon and pan box are placed before him. Chittar Sen was raja of Burdwan in western Bengal 1740-44 when Alivardi Khan was Nawab 1740-56. Burdwan had long been a zamindar holding, but Chittar Sen was awarded the title of Raja by the emperor Muhammd Shah.
The pale watercolour appearance of the portrait conforms to a strain in Murshidabad painting in the late 18th century, of which the prime example is an album in the British Library from around 1790 which contains portraits in similar style of all the principal actors in the affairs of Bengal in the period 1740 to 1760 during the transition from Mughal to East India Company control. See Mildred Archer, Company Drawings in the India Office Library, HMSO, London, 1972, no. 39, and pl. 19.
EXPERT : J. P. Losty
J. P. Losty was for many years curator of Indian visual materials in the British Library in London and has published many books and articles on painting in India from the 12th to the 19th centuries.
Artiana would like to thank J. P. Losty for his expertise and assistance in preparing this catalogue entry.