Nawab Aliverdi Khan with his nephews and grandson on a terrace

Nawab Aliverdi Khan with his nephews and grandson on a terrace

Gouache on paper
Murshidabad School, India
About 1750-1755
Museum no. D.1201-1903

The scene is set on a terrace surrounded by screen walls and a pavillion in the background. In the foreground the central seated figure of the painting is that of Nawab Alivardi Khan and he has been depicted as holding a 'sarpesh' (turban ornament). On the left is seated Nawazish Muhammad Khan, known as Shahamat Jang, and the two men facing Alivardi are also identified by inscriptions on the reverse as Sayid Ahmad Khan (Saulat Jang) and the young Siraj-ud-daula. Siraj-ud-daula, was born in 1733, so cannot be less than 17 years old in this picture. The death of Shahamat Jang in 1755 enables us to date it accurately between 1750-55. The colour scheme, with its dark brown courtyard floor and flashes of cochineal red creates a setting which is well suited to the intimacy of family conversation and at the same time has a sober quality which matches the formal geometry of the composition.