Painting: H. 18 5/8 in. (47.3 cm)
W. 11 1/8 in. (28.3 cm)
Mat: H. 27 in. (68.6 cm)
W. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
Louis E. and Theresa S. Seley Purchase Fund for Islamic Art, 2004
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 464
The classic works of the Company School of painting were studies of plant and animal life in which the background landscape is only sparingly indicated, as the main purpose of the paintings was to record species new to European observers. The nightjar shown here is executed with great attention to detail—individual feathers have been painted with subtle gradations of color, the eye has a bright ring around it, and the legs are textured with parallel line markings. The painting comes from a set that may have once comprised over 600 paintings, the patronage of which has been attributed to Claude Martin, who served as superintendent of the arsenal for Nawab Asaf ud-Daula of Lucknow between 1775 and 1800.
Inscription: Inscriptions below the composition in the lowest margin and on the back read: Caprimulgus [in pencil lower margin]; 465 chapka [in ink lower margin]; chapka [in ink on a ticket on the reverse]
Claude Martin, Lucknow, India (until d. 1800); Family of Charles Jenkinson, 1st Earl of Liverpool (after 1800); [ Victoria Munroe, Boston, until 2004; sold to MMA]
Chubb, William. "Natural History Drawings from the Collection of Claude Martin (1735-1800)." In The Lucknow Menagerie. London: Niall Hobhouse, 2001. p. 40.