gouache on paper, applied borders of plain pinkish-buff paper, reverse with seal impressions of 'I'timad Khan bandieh Shah Jahan 146' and 'sayyid 'Ali al-Husayni murid Alamgir Pad-Shah', numerous inventory inscriptions on reverse in Persian and Hindi
This painting of a European figure is close in its somewhat stiff style to a figure of St. John the Baptist formerly in the British Rail Pensions Fund, sold in these rooms 23 April 1996, lot 5. That work was signed by the artist Sadiq and had similar applied borders to the present work as well as a similar array of inscriptions and seal impressions on the reverse, including one which belonged the same owner as one of those present here - "Sayyid Ali al-Husayni the devotee of Alamgir Padshah". In the 1996 catalogue entry Toby Falk suggested it was the same Sadiq as was responsible for several illustrations in the 1598 Razmnama.
However, there is some divergence in style between the Razmnama
illustrations and the present work and the British Rail Pension Fund example, and it is possible that they are instead linked to two works signed Sadiqi or (or Sadiq, with a misreading of the Kufic script signature) also executed in a somewhat stiff and idiosyncratic manner. One, of a mullah riding a donkey, is in the Musee Guimet, Paris (No.7139, see Okada, Miniatures de l'Inde imperial,
Paris, 1989, p.169, no.46), while the other, of a European Muse, was sold in these rooms 27 April 1994, lot 125 and 7 April 1975, lot 103. For listings of these artists' works see Verma, Mughal Painters and their Works,
Delhi, 1994, p.339.
The seal impressions on the reverse indicate that the painting was in the possession of Mughal courtiers from 1046 AH/1634 AD onwards. One names I'timad Khan, a servant of Shah Jahan, the other names 'Ali al-Husayni, a servant of Alamgir.
With many thanks to Marcus Fraser for his contribution to this entry.