Maharaja Duleep Singh
Origin: United Kingdom
Date: 20th century
Length: 84cm x 61cm (Unframed)
Materials: Oil on Canvas
An ‘After Franz Xavier Winterhalter‘ Portrait of Duleep Singh, Maharajah of Lahore based of the original painted by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1854. Winterhalter, who was born in the Black Forest in Germany, was the principal portrait painter at the court of Queen Victoria during the first half of her reign. He first came to London in 1842 on the recommendation of Louise, Queen of the Belgians, and he continued to work for Queen Victoria at intervals until his death, painting well over a hundred pictures. He was an artist of international status and managed to sustain a high level of productivity, amassing a substantial fortune in the process. Queen Victoria admired the light, fresh colours of his work, and frequently commissioned him to paint subjects of private significance. Queen Victoria was captivated by Dalip Singh (1838-93) when first introduced to him in 1854, the year in which he was brought to England, having surrendered his sovereignty of the Punjab in 1849. She recorded in her journal on 10 July 1854 that 'Winterhalter was in ecstasies at the beauty and nobility of bearing of the young Maharaja. He was very amiable and patient, standing so still and giving a sitting of upwards of 2 hrs'. Queen Victoria's fascination with India continued throughout her life and this was one of many portraits that she commissioned of Indian sitters. However, Winterhalter's male portraits are rarely as romantic or exotic as this image, which places the young Maharaja in an imaginary landscape in Indian dress. This particular painting of Duleep Singh, done on a pastiche material, is attributed to H Wood and completed in the 20th century. The painting is in the style of Henry Woods, who was famously known for painting subjects and scenes in this style.
The Royal Collection Trust describes the original as the following:
The Maharaja is shown wearing his diamond aigrette and star in his turban and a jewel-framed miniature of Queen Victoria by Emily Eden. During one of the sittings he was shown the Koh-i Noor diamond that he had surrendered in 1849. Queen Victoria recorded how she had given him the newly recut jewel to inspect and that he then handed it back to her, saying how much pleasure it gave him to be able to make the gift in person. He quickly became a close friend of the royal family, visiting them at Osborne and inviting the Prince of Wales to shooting parties on his estate at Elveden Hall in Suffolk. However, Dalip Singh's financial difficulties and disaffection with British politics led him to become involved in various international intrigues in an attempt to regain his throne and he died in exile in Paris.
This painting shows a young Duleep Singh in traditional Sikh Royal garb. The Maharaja is shown wearing his diamond aigrette and star in his turban and a jewel-framed miniature of Queen Victoria by Emily Eden, while holding his Tulwar. The reverse of the painting provides the Provenance to this painting as it describes the original, dating, and some form of a signature. The reverse states: 'DULEEP SINGH 1838-1893 MAHARAJAH OF LAHORE ORIGINAL BY FRANZ XAVIER WINTERHALTER (1854) (PASTICHE, - H WOOD)’. Pastiche is a type of canvas material. The label ends with the signature, 'H Wood'. There is also another signature and date on the back, which reads ‘[19?]85 H WOOD’. The label verso shows age and is most probably from the very early 20th century. Minor defect near the hand of Duleep Singh, but insignificant. It is odd for the second signature to be there, which leads us to believe that the painting was started during the very early 20th century, but remained incomplete. There are signs of this, e.g. some sections, such as the clothing and sash are very detailed, whereas the background is not as detailed. Though this may have been the intention of the painter to make Duleep Singh the focus. Only then was it completed in 1985 by another artist and again signed using H Wood (as a tribute to the original painter).
A very unique and rare original oil on canvas painting, perfect for collectors interested in the Sikh Kingdom and related Art. Private viewing by appointment only, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org