Phyl G

Phyl G

Posted on 07/20/2013

Photo taken on February  6, 2010

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Royal Ontario Museum
Indian Art
Duleep Singh
Maharaja Duleep Singh

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Maharaja Duleep Singh

Maharaja Duleep Singh
From a “Kings of the Punjab” display at the Royal Ontario Museum, June 2010.

Background description:

At the turn of the 19th century, when the territories of northern India had declined, the Sikh Maharaja Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) rose to power by consolidating a fractured political landscape through a series of military and diplomatic victories. His empire comprised almost 200,000 sq. miles of what is now Afghanistan, Pakistan, Northern India and the Himalayan kingdoms. His rule was secular and admired for its civil justice, political shrewdness and flourishing artistic patronage.

After Ranjit Singh's death, the empire fell on the shoulders of his sons, the last being the Maharajah Duleep Singh (1838-1892) who was crowned at age five and deposed six years later in 1849 when the British annexed the territory. The British isolated the young prince from his family, converted him to Christianity, and exiled him to England in 1854 where most of the spoils of the Sikh empire and his grave remain today.

Manu Kaur Saluja's portraits of father and son seen here commemorate the two iconic Sikh kings, combining congtemporary vision with historical detail.

Manu Kaur Saluja (b. 1971)
New York, 2005

Description for this painting in particular:

Winterhalter's portrait of Duleep Singh has been embraced as an art icon by the Sikh Diaspora. As an intriguing and exotic subject for Queen Victoria, the young 16-year old Maharajah was painted in a royal style, bedecked with jewels and wearing a miniature portrait of the Queen at his neck. The artist Manu Kaur Saluja was granted permission to study the original painting. Working from her own pastel sketches and photographs, her copy is one of the most faithful reproductions of Winterhalter's masterpiece ever made.

(On loan by Bhupinder Singh Sarkaria)