Sunday, June 30

Sikh marriage procession

Watercolour in paper, 1860 by unknown artist in the collection of Victoria & Albert Museum, London
'Company paintings' were produced by Indian artists for Europeans living and working in the Indian subcontinent, especially British employees of the East India Company. They represent a fusion of traditional Indian artistic styles with conventions and technical features borrowed from western art. Some Company paintings were specially commissioned, while others were virtually mass-produced and could be purchased in bazaars.

This Company painting depicts a Sikh marriage procession, with the bridegroom on horseback attended by a parasol-bearer and a large throng of people. It was painted in the Panjab around 1860 and is a comparatively rare example of Company painting from this region. It was only in 1849, after the Sikh Wars, that the British took over the administration of the Panjab. Before this, European influences were few and painting was not common. It was not until a British Resident, Henry Lawrence, was posted to Lahore (now in Pakistan but then in the Panjab) that British influences began to spread and painters were encouraged to provide examples of Company painting, though it never developed on the scale seen in other regions of India.

No comments: