Two Orientals conversing, after a Mughal miniature; the man at r with a beard facing a younger, clean-shaven man, both wearing turbans and holding long swords. c.1656-61 Pen and brown ink, with grey-brown wash, touched with white and with scraping out, on buff prepared Oriental paper


© The Trustees of the British Museum

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Department: Prints & Drawings

Registration number: 1895,0915.1281

Bibliographic reference
Benesch 1973 1204
Royalton-Kisch 2010 60 (Rembrandt)
Hind 1915-31 76
JCR 809

Dutch Roy XVIIc

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Object types
drawing (scope note | all objects)

paper (all objects)
drawn (scope note | all objects)
Production person
Drawn by Rembrandt (biographical details | all objects)
1656-1661 (circa)
Schools /Styles
Dutch (scope note | all objects)

Two Mughal noblemen; after a Mughal miniature, the man at right with a beard facing a younger, clean-shaven man, both wearing turbans and holding long swords. c.1656-1661
Pen and brown ink with brown and grey wash, touched with white and with scraping-out, on oriental paper prepared with pale brown wash; traces of framing lines in pen and pale brown ink visible towards the right of the lower edge; an accidental graphite mark below right figure.
Verso: see Inscriptions.
No watermark.

Inscription Content: Inscribed top left, a graphite mark, perhaps a 'W' on its side (see further under provenance); verso, in graphite: '809'.

Height: 172 millimetres
Width: 214 millimetres

Good; slightly rubbed in places; a crease runs almost vertically through the left-hand figure; thin spots between the two heads.

Curator's comments
Entry from Martin Royalton-Kisch, 'Catalogue of drawings by Rembrandt and his school', 2010, Rembrandt, cat. no.60:
A copy after a Mughal miniature (see under cat. no.56; 1895,0915.1275, Benesch 1187[). The figure on the right has been identified as Shāh Jahān (r.1628-58), while that on the left could be his son, Dārā Shikōh (born c.1614).[1]
Rembrandt's prototype for the drawing survives among the miniatures at Schönbrunn but appears to have been divided when it was incorporated into the wall-decorations there. The model for the figure on the left has long been recognised,[2] but not for that on the right. Yet it was probably the image of Shāh Jahān seen in another panel of the room who, apart from his feet, is shown in almost the same posture.[3] The slightly more forward alternative position of the nearer arm shown in Rembrandt's drawing reflects the pose of the original more accurately.[4] Shāh Jahān is also depicted in cat. no.61 (Gg,2.262, Benesch 1205).
[1] The identifications made by Lunsingh Scheurleer, 1980 (see Lit.), who points out that the model for the figure on the right among the Schönbrunn miniatures suggested by Benesch, 1957, in fact shows the later Great Mughal Farrukhsiyār (r.1713-19). She does not propose an alternative prototype. The figure on the right was tentatively identified (probably by R. Pinder-Wilson, formerly of the British Museum's Department of Oriental Antiquities) as Jahāngīr or Shāh Jahān in Exh. London, 1972-3, no.221.
[2] By Benesch, 1957.
[3] The figure is illustrated by Strzygowski, 1923, pl.35 (on the right) and Exh. London, 1992, p.150, fig.66b. He there has a halo, suggesting that the miniature dates from c.1630 and at all events after Shāh Jahān's accession in 1628. The prototype for the figure on the left is repr.Strzygowski, op. cit., pl.24 (top left) and Exh. London, 1992, p.150, fig.66a.
[4] Another, similar figure is repr. op. cit., fig.23 (below); but this is less close in a few significant details, such as the pearl hanging from the front of the turban and the position of the nearer arm. It also appears stylistically further removed from the prototype for the other figure in the drawing, with which it must originally have been joined.

LITERATURE (always as Rembrandt):
Robinson, 1869/76, no.787/809; Kleinmann, IV, no.60; Sarre, 1904, p.154, repr. p.153, fig.9 (as cat. no.56, 1895,0915.1275, Benesch 1187; costume study); Hofstede de Groot, 1906, no.927; Wurzbach, 1910, p.418 (Rembrandt?); London, 1915, no.76 (c.1656); Valentiner, II, 1934, no.652, repr; Benesch, 1935, p.56; Benesch, V, 1957/73, no.1204, repr. fig.1430/1505 (c.1654-6; suggests particular miniatures at Schönbrunn were Rembrandt's prototypes - see above, n.1); Bernhard, 1976, II, repr. p.539; Broos, 1980, p.212, repr. fig.3 (as Benesch, 1957; poses more natural than in the original miniatures; shows two Indian warriors); Lunsingh Scheurleer, 1980, pp.17 and 36, repr. fig.24 (see n.1 above).

asian (all objects)

Associated names
Representation of Shah Jahan (biographical details | all objects)
Representation of Dárá Shikúh (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition date

Acquisition name
Purchased from Col John Wingfield Malcolm (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Dr Rev Henry Wellesley (L.1384; Sotheby's, 30.vi.1866/1060 as Rembrandt 'TWO FULL-LENGTH PERSIAN FIGURES pen and sepia washe) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Jonathan Richardson Senior (L.2184) (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Malcolm of Poltalloch (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection Charles Noel, 1st Earl of Gainsborough (biographical details | all objects)
Previous owner/ex-collection John Bouverie (L.325) (biographical details | all objects)

Acquisition notes
Jonathan Richardson, sen. (L.2184 - see cat. no.56 [1895,0915.1275, Benesch 1187]); John Bouverie (L.325);* by descent to 1st Earl of Gainsborough; his sale, Christie’s, 20 July, 1859, lot 132, bt Graves, £2-4-0; Dr H. Wellesley (L.1384, but with only one ‘W’); his sale, Sotheby’s, 6th day, 30 June, 1866, lot 1060, bt Addington, £1-18-0, from whom bt Malcolm, February, 1867 (according to annotated copy of Malcolm catalogue); John Malcolm of Poltalloch (L.1489), purchased with his collection, 1895. *See the drawing attributed to Van den Eeckhout, cat.no.19 (1895,0806.72, Benesch 113) for the note under Acquisition.

Exhibition History
London, 1895, no.379b (from an Indian illuminated MS);
1899, no.A54;
1938, no.76 (c.1656);
1956, p.16, no.6;
1972-3, no.221 (c.1654-6; of Jahāngīr or Shāh Jahān);
1992, BM, Drawings by Rembrandt and his Circle, no.66, repr. (c.1656-61).
2013/14 Oct-Jan Brussels, Bozar, 'Indomania'

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