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Thakur Bhaktawar Singh smoking a huqqa by the artist Lakhi Sambhu. Jhilai (thikana of Jaipur), circa late 18th - early 19th century. Gouache with gold on wasli. 24.9 x 17.3cm, image 16 x 11.4cm

Bakhtawar Singh was the thakur (feudatory lord) of Jhilai, a thikana (baroney) of Jaipur in Rajasthan. In the late 18th and early 19th century a significant if little known style of painting flourished at Jhilai, produced by a single artist who until the translation of this painting's inscription was unknown.

The inscription reads:
First line: Shri Maharaj Ku(n)war Shri Bhakhtawar Singhji
Second and third line: Jala ka chatera Lakhi Sambhu
(roughly "Jhalai's artist Lakhi Sambhu")

I would like to express my appreciation to Rajesh Rao who kindly translated the above inscription.

There is an equestrian portrait of Bakhtawar Singh in the L.A. Louver Museum  (similar to another in my possession) which is published online and a larger scale painting probably also of Bakhtawar Singh in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, which featured in Art Bulletin, Vol. 54, No. 2 (Autumn, 1996), pp. 75-85, which is also published online.

All images and text © Peter Blohm