Portrait of Colonel Ranabir Singh Thapa
Attributed to Bhajuman Chitrkar Nepalese
Not on view
This handsome portrait of the nobleman Colonel Ranabir Singh Thapa is a rare example of Nepalese court secular painting produced in the early to mid-19th century. Ranabir Singh Thapa was a leading member of the powerful Thapa family in Nepal, who served variously as an army commander, politician and minister of state. The sitter is seen at the height of his powers in the 1830s. He is splendidly dressed in full military attire, with curved cavalry sword hanging from his cummerbund, and from which the hilt of a traditional Nepalese khukuri dagger projects. He is seen seated in an interior contrived after European models, with a heavy swag of curtains drawn theatrically to one side to reveal the sitter, flanked by a Georgian-style marquetry-inlaid bureau in the foreground and a writing desk which faces a river or lake vista. Two diminutive figures seated to his right may be presumed to be his sons. The work is unsigned but was possibly the work of the professional painter Nepalese Bhajuman Chitrakar, active through the 1820s to at least 1850.