This interesting album page beautifully illustrates the cultural connections between the Deccani and Safavid courts during the 17th century. The page is mounted with sections of gold and polychrome Safavid illuminated headings and set in Safavid margins with detailed flowering plants inhabited by various animals including a tiger and a simurgh.
The lower tinted drawing which depicts a family of elephants and two mahuts is closely related to a painting of an elephant trampling a horse which is attributed to mid-17th century Deccan and is currently on loan to the Ashmolean Museum of Art from the Howard Hodgkin Collection (Inv. LI118.91; Navina Najat Haidar and Marika Sardar, Sultans of Deccan India: 1500-1700 Opulence and Fantasy, Exhibition Catalogue, New York, 2015, no.78, p.167). The large bull elephants in both works have very similar harnesses with gilded pendants and bells.
The strong brown background and the hue of the translucent jama on the portrait of the young prince holding flowers, relate this work to portraits produced in Bijapur during the first quarter of the 17th century, (Haidar and Sardar, op.cit., pp.114-15, cat.40, 41 and 42).
The portrait of Jahangir (r.1605-27), depicts the ruler with a similar coloured jama and with a slightly unwound flat turban suggesting that it may have been a Deccani artist who painted this work, not fully familiar with this Mughal headgear. The large fleshy flowering plants which appear in all of the paintings resemble those which adorn works from Bijapur from the second quarter of the 17th century. A portrait of Sultan Ibrahim ‘Adil Shah II attributed to the Bodleian painter and dated to circa 1620 shows similar large flowering plants (Haidar and Sardar, op.cit., cat.42, p.115).
For another painting from the same album, see the following lot.