A Common Indian Nightjar (Caprimulgus asiaticus)

Object Name: Illustrated single work

Date: 18th century

Geography: India

Culture: Islamic

Medium: Watercolor on paper

Dimensions: 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)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Louis E. and Theresa S. Seley Purchase Fund for Islamic Art, 2004

Accession Number: 2004.175


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.