The Prince of Wales at Jaipur 4th February, 1876
Title The Prince of Wales at Jaipur 4th February, 1876
Accession Number C37
Title2 The Elephant Procession
Museum Name Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
Gallery Name NA
Object Type Painting
Medium Oil on Canvas
Main Artist Vassili Vereschagin (1842-1904)
Artist's Life Date / Bio Data The most important Russian Orientalist of the 19th century, Vasily Vereshchagin is a unique figure in the history of Russian art. The combination of his superlative talent, academic rigour, and humanitarian concern resulted in an unparalleled life's work of paintings. In 1874 Vasily Vereshchagin forsook his native Russia for India, where he was to remain for almost two years gathering ethnographic materials with which to colour an intended series of paintings devoted to the region. The works inspired by his time in India are extraordinarily beautiful and accomplished. He travelled extensively, his reverence for this rich land foreshadowing that of another Russian artist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Nicholas Roerich (1874-1947). Encounters with wild animals, almost drowning in a river, freezing on a mountain ledge and being plagued with tropical malaria did little to dampen his enthusiasm; his fervent interest in every aspect of local life roused the suspicions of the English colonial authorities who quickly, and somewhat ironically, became convinced he was spying for the homeland he had been obliged to quit. During his time in India Vereshchagin was deeply moved by what he perceived to be the plight of a great and ancient people at the hands of the British colonialists and determined to address the matter.
Provenance .
Period / Year of Work 1876
Brief Description The State Procession is passing through the Ambar-Chaupar. The Prince and the Maharaja are seated on the first elephant with the political Agent (Sir Alfred Lyall) behind them. On the second elephant is Sir Bartle Frere and on the third General Sir Sam Browne. Then follow the Prince's staff and the leading officials and the nobles of the Jaipur State. Sri Sansar Chandra Sen (Member of the Jaipur Council) on comparing with photo of the elephant procession of the Prince of Wales through the city of Jaipur in 1876 (4th February) reported the accuracy of Vassily Verestchagin’s painting, Sri Sen had supplied the following informations. Name of the elephant on which the Prince of Wales rode – Big Heeraguj, Name of the Mahout or elephant-driver- Elahibuksh, Name of the Chobdar or Mace bearer- Runglal, The painting depicts the scene when the procession was passing the Amber-Chowpar (square) near the Natani Howeli in which the girl School and Kotwali were located, The Mahout or elephant-driver had the Jaipur Khuntidar pugree i.e. the Court turban, and Jama (pleated gown) The elephant Howdah of silver and gold was still used in the year of writing the letter , 13th February 1905. The howdah had green embroidered Jhool or cover on the back of the elephant, Siri or head dress or other ornaments to match, of silver and gold. Date of visit was 4th February 1876 (The letter of Sansar Chandra Sen bears the date 13-2-1905 vide Victoria Memorial Correspondence Vol II, pp. 113