The level of portraiture and detail is exceedingly fine in this painting of a darbar scene. The faces are depicted with subtle shading and highly individualistic features such as the light beards, rounded chins or in the case of the old emissary at right, sunken cheeks. The scene likely takes place in the winter because of the warm clothing, turbans, and headdresses shown.
Compare to a larger gathering depicted in E. Smart and D. Walker, Pride of the Princes: Indian Art of the Mughal Era in the Cincinnati Art Museum, 1985, cat. no. 19. and to T. Falk and M. Archer, Indian Miniatures in the India Office Library, 1981, no.227i. E. Smart notes that there are eight similar known darbar pictures, with some also depicting British emissaries. Inscriptions in the other paintings allow the identification of the princes from left to right: Abu Zafar Siraj al-Din (heir apparent Bahadur Shah II), Mizra Salim, Mizra Jahangir, and Mizra Bahadur. Though not all of the Darbar paintings were by the hand of Ghulam Murtaza Khan, based on the India Office Library painting, one can attribute this painting to him.
Though the Mughal Empire was disintegrating, Smart also remarks that the early 19th century was a high point in the production of high quality painting. The artist was successful in capturing the glittering sophistication and decadence of the court, which juxtaposed with the anxious expressions on the principal figures, poignantly evoke the waning Mughal era.