View of a Mosque and Gateway at Motijhil

Artist: Attributed to Sita Ram (active 1814–23)

Object Name: Illustrated single work

Date: ca. 1814–23

Geography: Made in India, Bengal

Medium: Opaque watercolor on paper

Dimensions: Painting: H. 13 in. (33 cm)
W. 19 1/4 in. (48.9 cm)
Mat (Standard size B): H. 16 in. (40.6 cm)
W. 22 in. (55.9 cm)

Classification: Codices

Credit Line: Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky Fund, 2002

Accession Number: 2002.461


Sitaram, the painter of this enchanting scene, was hired to record the travels of Francis Rawdon, the governor-general of Bengal between 1814 and 1821. The painting illustrates the Sang-i Dalan palace complex at Motijhil, Bengal, where the Rawdons traveled in 1817. The artist, working in the picturesque style, has chosen to depict the scene not by foregrounding the site’s majestic palace but rather by emphasizing a romanticized state of decay, with fallen debris from the nearby structures. In doing so, Sitaram creates a melancholic view suggesting a nostalgia for the Mughal Empire before the arrival of the British.