|Title||A nobleman and his guests watching a nautch|
|Collection||Artworld: Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts|
|Description||Three girl 'kathak' dancers, two 'sarangi'-players, a 'tabla'-player and a cymbalist perform at night to the light of torches held by servants on a 'dari' spread under a 'shimiyana' before a palace veranda. To the right the host and his five guests sit on a carpet attended by two servants.|
|Description Source||Robert Skelton. In: Steven Hooper (ed.). 1997. Catalogue to the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. University of East Anglia.|
|Id Number Current Accession||765|
|Location Creation Site||Bharat, Delhi|
|Location Current Repository||Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts|
|Subject||visual work, painting, miniature|
|Measurements||306 x 246 x 1 mm|
|Context||The last phase of Mughal painting is often treated as a branch of the 'Company' school, as many of its patrons were Europeans, who were becoming established in Delhi during the reign of Akbar Shah II. One of these was Reginald Heber, the Bishop of Calcutta, who journeyed through Northern India in 1824-5 and described a performance in Delhi which was evidently similar to that depicted here. 'Their dresses were rich but there was such a quantity of scarlet cloth petticoats and trousers, so many shawls wrapped around their waists, and such multifarious skirts peeping out below each other, that their figures were quite hidden, and the whole effect was that of a number of Dutch dolls, though the faces of two or three out of the number were pretty' (cited in Crooke, 1906: 126).
There were a number of dance troupes in Delhi at this time, some of which were attracted to Lucknow soon after by the patronage of Wajid 'Ali Shah. Apart from contemporary pictures of performances, group portraits also exist (see Victoria and Albert, 1982: 53, no. 103). M. Archer (1962) describes the nautch, a performance by professional Indian dancing girls.
|Context Source||Robert Skelton. In: Steven Hooper (ed.). 1997. Catalogue to the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection. University of East Anglia.|
|Rights||Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, UEA, Norwich, 2002. All Rights reserved|