In the collection of William Fraser (1784-1835) and James Fraser (1783-1856).
By direct descent to Malcolm R. Fraser, Esq.
Sotheby’s, London, 20 November 1986, lot 14.
Hobhouse Ltd, London.
Private collection, USA.
1. Hussun Bhuttee, former cast a Jat.
2. Dara, Jat, Butthee of Rauneah.
3. Kamah Shah, Peer Zadeh, descendent of Mahanoo (?), Loobkanee native of Sheregurh.
4. Sherah, Bhuttee of Ranneah, formely a Rajepoot.
5. Phoolla, Bhuttee of Ranneah.
6. Oomerah, Tajoo Ballouch’s son.
7. Tajoo Mumera, chowdree, formely of Butnere, now of Rauneah.
The present work is part of a group of paintings commissioned by William and James Fraser in India from 1815 onwards. From the mid-eighteenth century, Europeans residing in India began to commission paintings from local artists but it was not until the the end of the eighteenth century that a style of more naturalistic drawing emerged. Until the Fraser album, most paintings produced in Delhi were of an architectural nature, and rarely depicted actual people. This watercolour is part of a small group representing the local population with their costumes and way of life.
When the Fraser brothers were forming their collection they were acquiring three different types of picture: original Mughal works, early nineteenth-century versions of seventeenth-century royal album pages, and Company School works painted by contemporary artists, including those William commissioned from Ghulam 'Ali Khan, Lallji and his personal artist now known as the Fraser Artist or the Fraser Master, which are the best-known and most important group of early-nineteenth century works of this type, and are the chief group associated with the brothers.
James wrote to his father on 20 November 1819, “I have just received from William, a Portfolio of native Drawings, some old and valuable as being illustrative of native costumes and features; groups of of Goorkhas, Sikhs, Patans and Affghans, Bhuttees, Mewattees, Jats, and Googers” (M. Archer and T. Falk, India Revealed: the Art and Adventures of James and William Fraser 1801-35, London, 1989, p.40).
Examples from this important series are now in a number of collections including the British Library, London, the British Museum, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the David Collection, Copenhagen, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and the Art Institute of Chicago. A painting depicting group of five seated men was sold in these rooms, 19 October 2016, lot 19, as part of the Khosrovani-Diba Collection.
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