A portrait of a nobleman, probably a Maharajah of Burdwan in Bengal British School, first half of the 19th Century
oil on canvas, framed 73 x 62 cm.
Burdwan (now Bardhaman) in West Bengal was one of the richest provinces of the region, under both Mughal and British governance. The district was ceded to the East India Company in 1760 by the Nawab of Bengal, Mir Qasim, in exchange for the Company's assistance in deposing his father-in-law, Mir Jafar. Under the assessment of 1793 the lands were valued for an annual payment of more than 40 lakhs of rupees.
The line of Maharajahs was founded in 1657 by the Kapoor Khatri clan, who originally came from Lahore. The Mughal Emperors conferred title and confirmed the family's position during the 18th Century. The most famous member of the family was Maharajah Mahtab Chand (1832-79) who helped the British during the Santal rebellion of 1855 and also during the Mutiny in 1857.