Equestrian Portrait of Madan Singh of Jala

Bundi, Rajasthan, North India
Circa 1835
Opaque pigments heightened with gold on paper
11¼ by 8½ in. (28.5 by 21.6 cm.)

Provenance:
Bundi Royal Collection
Sotheby’s, London, October 10/11, 1991, no. 796

The maharaja wears a diaphanous jama, pearl necklace, and jewels. His proudly-rearing horse is bedecked with jeweled trappings, and his retinue carries the traditional ceremonial regalia including a parasol, instruments, weapons, and a fly whisk. A city and a lake are set in the background. The image framed within gold, black, and white rules and red borders. The royal subject identified in black devanagari script on the reverse.

The inscription on the verso identifies the rider as “Jala Madan Singhji.” Madan Singh was the son of Rajarana Madho Singh (1773-1834) the Divan or Musahib-i-Ala (chief minister) of Kotah who inherited this office from his father, Rajarana Zalim Singhji (1739-1824). Born in Kotah in 1808, he assumed the title of Maharaj Rana and became the ruler of Jhalawar (in southeastern Rajasthan) in 1838. The inscription does not mention the title of Maharaj Rana, hence the dating of the mid 1830s. A portrait of Madan Singh was published as Maharaja Kanwar Madhav Singh in Painting for the Royal Courts, Spink, London, 1976, cat. 30, p.11.