The Tagores were an important and illustrious Bengali family including a long line of distinguished philanthropists, social reformers, poets and writers.
Sir Jotindra was born in Calcutta in 1831 and was educated at the Hindu College. A British tutor helped him to develop a taste in English literature. Sir Jotindra took a deep interest in cultural activities and was the author of several Bengali dramas and farces including the Vidya Sundara, which was highly regarded by his contemporaries. The theatrical entertainments he organised at his home in Calcutta, Belgatchia Villa, greatly helped to popularize the Bengal drama in its modern form, paving the way for the establishment of public native theatres. Like his brother, Sourindra Mohan, Sir Jotindra was also a patron of music and took an interest in both Eastern and Western cultivation of Western music. He even imported musical boxes and barrel organs for the cultivation of Western music. He put together an art gallery and formed a distinguished library of Indian and foreign books which included a rare collection of ancient Sanskrit works.
Sir Jotindra held a leading position in Bengal society and was universally respected by both the Indians and the British. The highest honours were conferred on him including the title of Maharajah and Knight of the Star of India. The title of Maharajah was made hereditary in 1890. He inherited extensive landed property in several districts and held a life interest in the estates of his uncle. He was renowned for his philanthropy. As a patron of education he used to maintain many students and bear all their expenses. He fed fifty poor men daily at his house and contributed liberally towards the construction of schools, roads and similar projects. During the famine of 1866 he remitted the rent of his tenants and fed 250 paupers daily for three months.
Hudson lived in Calcutta between 1856 and 1862. During this time he painted members of the Burdwan court. A similar but larger three-quarter length portrait of Sir Jotindra in an Indian landscape is recorded in a private English collection.