FORGOTTEN MASTERS: INDIAN PAINTING FOR THE EAST INDIA COMPANY
Wallace Collection, London
Co-curated by William Dalrymple
4 December 2019 – 19 April 2020
“History wanted to be remembered.”
-Rivers Solomon, An Unkindness of Ghosts
The spectacular exhibition at the Wallace Collection, London, for the first time in history, has credited the Company Paintings to their respective creators, the artists from the colonial India who hitherto remained unrecognized. Co-curated by noted historian and author William Dalrymple and designed by Nissen Richards Studio, the show remembers the great Indian talents such as Bhawani Das, Shaikh Zain ud-Din, Shaikh Mohammad Amir of Karriah, Sita Ram and Ghulam Ali Khan.
Their interest in Indian culture and its natural history encouraged some of the East India Company officials to commission the Indian artists to document the exotic foreign land that India was to the British. The artists painted albums of Indian flora and fauna, people from different cultural backgrounds and picturesque scenes of Indian monuments, blending their prowess in miniature style with the newly introduced academic realism of the West. Forgotten Masters, emphasizing on the authorship of the paintings, is designed in a way that invites viewers to look at the exhibits with a fresh eye.
William Dalrymple, a prolific writer of Indian History, studied at Ample forth and Trinity College, Cambridge. He authored his very first book, In Xanadu, at a very young age of 22 which brought him much acclaim. City of Djinns (1994), the second book, won the prestigious Thomas Cook Travel Book Award and the Sunday Times Young British Writer of the Year Award. But it was White Mughals (2003) that established him as a history writer, receiving the Wolfson Prize, Britain’s most-honored history award. His other publications include From the Holy Mountain, The Last Mughal, Return of a King, Kohinoor and The Anarchy, the most recent one.