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Maharaja Jai Singh of Alwar as a child
His Highness of Alwar
Place of Origin: India, Rajasthan state, former kingdom of Alwar
Date: approx. 1870-1880
Materials: hand-colored albumen sliver print
Dimensions: H. 6 3/8 in x W. 4 3/4 in, H. 16.2 cm x W. 12.1 cm (image)
Credit Line: From the Collection of William K. Ehrenfeld, M.D.
Department: South Asian Art
Collection: Photography
Object Number: 2005.64.124
On Display: No

Description

Label: Once thought to be a photograph of his father, this image more closely resembles Maharaja Jai Singh (reigned 1892–1933) himself; he ascended the throne as a child when his father, Mangal Singh, died. This photograph was probably taken a few years after his coronation. This is the only hand-colored photograph from India in the exhibition. Indian artists usually colored pictures far more densely, so much so that painted Indian photographs are often mistaken for actual paintings. Here the washes keep the photographic image front and center. The British colonial community at first thought Jai Singh was an able, charming, and progressive ruler, but later found him to be depraved and sadistic. At best he was thought eccentric, as he was extremely careful not to touch leather and averse to shaking hands with Englishmen, including the British monarch. Jai Singh claimed to be descended from the god Rama, and in later years thought of himself as divine. In 1933 the British removed him from office and exiled him to France, where he died apparently of alcoholism.

More Information

Exhibition History: "Photographic Memories" Rotation 1 (Tateuchi Gallery, March 13, 2009 - August 30, 2009)
Label: Once thought to be a photograph of his father, this image more closely resembles Maharaja Jai Singh (reigned 1892–1933) himself; he ascended the throne as a child when his father, Mangal Singh, died. This photograph was probably taken a few years after his coronation. This is the only hand-colored photograph from India in the exhibition. Indian artists usually colored pictures far more densely, so much so that painted Indian photographs are often mistaken for actual paintings. Here the washes keep the photographic image front and center. The British colonial community at first thought Jai Singh was an able, charming, and progressive ruler, but later found him to be depraved and sadistic. At best he was thought eccentric, as he was extremely careful not to touch leather and averse to shaking hands with Englishmen, including the British monarch. Jai Singh claimed to be descended from the god Rama, and in later years thought of himself as divine. In 1933 the British removed him from office and exiled him to France, where he died apparently of alcoholism.
Exhibition History: "Photographic Memories" Rotation 1 (Tateuchi Gallery, March 13, 2009 - August 30, 2009)