James Wales (British, 1747-95), Nur al-din Hussein Khan, the Residency Vakil, Poona painted in 1792

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Lot 158*
James Wales (British, 1747-95), Nur al-din Hussein Khan, the Residency Vakil, Poona
painted in 1792

Sold for £ 275,062 (US$ 345,035) inc. premium
James Wales (British, 1747-95), Nur al-din Hussein Khan, the Residency Vakil, Poona
painted in 1792
oil on canvas, inscribed upper left Noor al deen Hussein Khan, inscribed on the reverse Syed Noor All deen Hussain Khan/Jas Wales Pinxit/Poona/1793
122 x 95.5 cm.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The collection of Princess Alia Al Hussein of Jordan.
    Inherited directly from her mother, Princess Dina Bint Abdul Hamid, former Queen of Jordan and Sharifa of Mecca.

    Published
    M. Archer, India and British Portraiture 1770-1825, London 1979, p. 345, no. 249.

    James Wales, a Scot, arrived in India in 1791, having been granted permission to go there through his connections in the East India Company. At first he worked in Bombay, producing both miniature and full-scale portraits, as well as landscape drawings. He was also introduced to Sir Charles Warre Malet, Company Resident at the Maratha court in Poona from 1786 to 1797. Wales stayed in Poona until December 1792, living in some style. From the start he began painting portraits of members of the European community, and Indians, including the present lot. Through Malet he also met the Peshwa, Madhu Rao Narayan, as well as the most powerful chief, Mahadaji Sindhia. In order to please the British, it seems, the Maratha rulers sought to commission paintings in a European style. Wales continued to work between Poona and Bombay, also drawing the rock sculptures at Elephanta. He met Thomas and William Daniell in 1793 when the brothers were on their way to the Middle East. He died of a fever in Bombay. For an account of his career and a selection of his works, see Archer, op. cit., pp. 333-349. Other Poona portraits by Wales are in the collections of the British Library and the Royal Asiatic Society.

    The sitter, Nur al-Din Hussein Khan, appears to be little known, not being listed in standard biographical works. He was vakil at the Company Residency, i.e. agent or representative, and assistant to Malet, the Resident, acting as liaison between the Company and the Marathas. He features, looking much as he does in Wales' painting, in Thomas Daniell's depiction (circa 1800-05, based on drawings by Wales) of the durbar concluding the treaty with Poona in 1790, seated between Malet and the British First Secretary (see C. A. Bayly (ed.), The Raj: India and the British 1600-1947, London 1990, pp. 162-163, no. 173; and for an aquatint of the painting, see Archer, op. cit., p. 354, no. 261).
Contacts
James Wales (British, 1747-95), Nur al-din Hussein Khan, the Residency Vakil, Poona painted in 1792
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