Portrait of Maharao Ram Singh II of Kota

Image of a man on horseback with two men flanking him
Artist Unknown, India, Rajasthan, Kotah School
c. 1840
Ram Singh II of Kota (ruled. 1827-66) was the last great patron of Indian miniature painting. With the rise of the British Raj, most native princes adopted the Eurocentric fashion for photography and oil painting. Ram Singh, by contrast, retained his court atelier and used painting to record his often eccentric activities: one painting depicts him shooting a tiger while making love. This colored drawing shows Ram Singh on horseback in idealized form, dwarfing two miniaturized attendants. The drawing may quote depictions of a curious episode of 1850, in which the Maharao rode a horse upon the roof of his palace. Following the performance, he held a special assembly in a room decked out exclusively in pink (guests too were asked to don pink clothing and turbans).
Gift of Professor Walter M. and Nesta R. Spink, in honor of Mrs. James Marshall Plumer on the occasion of her ninetieth birthday
Tuesday, June 28, 2022