Only one portrait of Maharaja Pratap Singh's predecessor, Maharaja Sundar Das (1606-1668), is known; see D. Mason, Intimate Worlds, Philadelphia, 2001, p. 138-9, cat. 54. This portrait also idiosyncratically depicts the raja with a birdcage - apparently a reoccurring motif in Sawar portraiture, given that Pratap's successor, Maharaja Raj Singh (r. 1705-30) is also often depicted in the presence of a small birdcage. In our painting, Pratap Singh is rendered with a greater degree of realism than others known from Sawar - his face is delineated with great clarity and naturalistic shading. It is a striking portrait and one unlike almost any other published work from Sawar. His attendant stands behind, sketched-in over white heightening - very finely and sensitively rendered with mossy-green background left somewhat unfinished. This is a contemporary portrait of Maharaja Pratap Singh compared to the later portraits of Raj Singh; see A. Topsfield and M. C. Beach, Indian Paintings and Drawings from the Collection of Howard Hodgkin, New York, 1991, cat. 24.
For related works, see I. Pasricha, 'Painting at Sawar and Isarda in the 17th century,' in Oriental Art, New Series, vol. XXVIII, no. 3, Autumn 1982.
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