• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2024

    Indian and Southeast Asian Art

    16 September 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 451

    Nainsukh of Guler
    Raja Balwant Dev Singh and a swan

    INDIA, JASROTA, C. 1750-55

    Price Realised  


    Nainsukh of Guler
    Raja Balwant Dev Singh and a swan
    India, Jasrota, c. 1750-55
    The king wearing an achhkan over striped pyjama and slippers and holding a sword, staring at the swan, both standing in a courtyard, rendered in pen and ink and highlighted with red and white in specific areas, including his face and hands, the verso with handwritten inscriptions
    Pen and ink wash, with red and white pigment, on paper
    11 x 15½ in. (28 x 39.4 cm.), folio

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    Unlike the previous example, this drawing is the epitome of introspection. Using a very simple palette, Nainsukh has portrayed the king's and swan's portraits alike with extraordinary delicacy. The composition is also very unusual; unlike his known drawings of his patron in architectural settings, Nainsukh uses an overhead plan, depicting only the swan and Raja Balwant Dev Singh within a courtyard, seemingly engaged in unspoken communication.

    The verso of the drawing has "Raja Balwant Rao & a swan" and "6 shillings" written in the same handwriting as that found on the back of other works by the same artist (see Christie's New York, 21 March 2008, lot 507 and the previous lot). As this drawing does not seem to match any of the descriptions from the Sotheby's 1931 sale of Sir Dorab J. Tata's paintings, it is unknown if this drawing was a part of his collection. Either way, it was clearly handled by the same dealer from whom Tata acquired his other works into other private collections, to be published here for the first time.

    Pre-Lot Text