This unfinished painting depicts a seated figure who appears to be floating in space, as his chair has not yet been painted. The stippled modeling of his face and hands, together with the carefully folded drapery of his clothing, reflects a keen attention to detail on the part of the artist. Created after the high point of Mughal portraiture, this study nonetheless demonstrates a continuation of this artistic tradition into the late eighteenth century. While Mughal portraits typically show the sitters surrounded by their prized possessions, the subject of this painting is depicted with only a blank book in his hand.
Dowell's Auction House, Edingburgh, England, 1930, to Cursiter; Stanley Cursiter, Edingburgh (from 1930); through descentin his family (until after 2000); [ Terence McInerney, New York, until 2009; sold to MMA]