Infrared Reflectography of the Mughal Painting Princes of the House of Timur (British Museum, 1913,0208,0.1)

In: Journal of Islamic Manuscripts
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  • 1 1 laurae.parodi@gmail.com
  • 2 Courtauld Institute of Art

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Infrared reflectography of the Mughal painting known as Princes of the House of Timur (British Museum, 1913,0208,0.1) suggests at least four phases of overpainting, reveals previously unseen inscriptions, clarifies issues of iconography, and provides parallels with workshop practice—in particular, with bookbinding and book illustration.

  • 1

    Toby Falk, “Princes of the House of Timur: The Written Record,” in Humayun’s Garden Party: Princes of the House of Timur and Early Mughal Painting, ed. Sheila S. Canby (Bombay: Marg Publications, 1994), 2.

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  • 2

    Sheila Canby, “The Condition of Princes of the House of Timur,” in Humayun’s Party, 108.

  • 3

    Ibid., 108–109.

  • 4

    See Laura E. Parodi, “Princes of the House of Timur,” in The Indian Portrait 1560–1860, ed. Rosemary Crill and Kapil Jariwala (London: National Portrait Gallery, 2010), cat. No. 1.

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  • 8

    L.R. Lee et al., “Princes of the House of Timur: Conservation and Examination of an Early Mughal Painting,” Studies in Conservation 42 (1997): 231–240.

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  • 12

    See Laura E. Parodi, “Humayun’s Sojourn at the Safavid Court,” in Proceedings of the 5th Conference of the Societas Iranologica Europaea, ed. A. Panaino and R. Zipoli (Milan: Mimesis, 2006), Vol. II, 141–145.

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  • 14

    Seyller, in Canby, Humayun’s Party, 59–64.

  • 16

    See the illustration in Canby, Humayun’s Party, 60.

  • 21

    Robert Skelton in Canby, Humayun’s Party, 47.

  • 22

    See the illustration in Canby, Humayun’s Party, 61.

  • 24

    In Canby, Humayun’s Party, 105–106. The reaction to UV radiation of faces believed to date from the sixteenth century is more varied: some are non-luminescent while others show a blue-white emission (Daniels, ibid., 103–104), and the three most intact—F, S and T—all show a bright white emission (ibid., 105), which Daniels attributes to a lead-based pigment (ibid., 102). Compare this with the results of pigment analysis published in Lee et al., “Conservation and Examination,” esp. 235–237, which confirmed the presence of lead (possibily lead white) and found no traces of Indian yellow, only orpiment.

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  • 27

    See Milo C. Beach, “The Gulshan Album and the workshops of Prince Salim,” Artibus Asiae 73/2 (2013): 445-477.

  • 31

    See especially, John Seyller in Canby, Humayun’s Party, 55.

  • 34

    In Canby, Humayun’s Party, 50.

  • 41

    See Laura E. Parodi, “Two Pages from the Late Shahjahan Album,” Ars Orientalis 40 (2011), 267–294.

  • 48

    From the Lucknow Album. British Museum, 1974,0617,0.10.6; illustration in J.M. Rogers, Mughal Miniatures (London: British Museum Press, 1993), 59, fig. 32. The current appearance of the painting, including most notably its palette, suggests the hand of Aqa Riza, a master employed by Jahangir who was especially skilled at mimicking sixteenth-century styles; compare this with his c. 1600–1604 “Yusuf Enthroned,” from the Gulshan Album (c. 1600–1604, Golestan Palace Library, Ms. 1663, no. 131); illustration in Milo C. Beach et al., Masters, 219, fig. 3. In the Lucknow Album page, the combination of a foreground featuring accurate Humayuni detail with background characters in a Safavid style is unusual, and may indicate the painting originates in an incomplete Humayuni model.

  • 59

    See J. Ambers et al., eds., Italian Renaissance drawings: technical examination and analysis (London: Archetype Publications in association with the British Museum, 2010).

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