Portrait of Raja Gobind Singh Suvahiyan
By a Kangra artist
Opaque watercolour heightened with silver, in a pink album page
30.8 by 19.5 cm., 12 1/8 by 7¾ in. page; 24.9 by 13.5 cm., 9¾ by 5¼ in. miniature
Inscribed above in Nagari: sri raja govind singhji suvahiyan 'Raja Gobind Singh Suvahiyan'
The raja sits on a terrace smoking from a silver hookah while an attendant waves a cloth over him, a sign of royalty. The inscription identifies the subject as Raja Gobind Singh (r. 1800-45), who would appear to be the last reigning ruler of Siba, a small state in the Punjab Hills close to Kangra. Wrecked as a consequence of the Gurkha invasion of the hills and the Sikh takeover of Kangra, it was restored to Gobind Singh in 1830, perhaps since the Sikh chief minister, the Dogra Raja Dhian Sing, married his daughter.
The portrait appears to have been painted shortly after his accession to the throne and follows late Pahari conventions. It is almost a mirror image of a portrait of Raja Prakash Chand of Guler (d. 1820), in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, see Cummins, J., Indian Painting, Boston, 2006, p.198, no.110.
Private collection, Germany