Maharaja Portraits and Painted Photography: Towards an Aesthetics of Dissonance

Loading Events

« All Events

Virtual Event Virtual Event
  • This event has passed.

Unknown Artist, Presented to Queen Victoria through Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, during his tour of India in 1875-76 by Ishwari Prasad Narayan Singh, Maharaja of Benares, c.1875. Composite Photograph, Royal Collection Trust © His Majesty King Charles III 2024

Maharaja Portraits and Painted Photography: Towards an Aesthetics of Dissonance

The Arts of India Zoom Series

Painted photography has long been considered specifically an Indian cultural phenomenon. Focusing on a few major examples such as the painted portrait of the Maharaja of Jaipur Sawai Ram Singh II (c.1875), this talk will explore how Indian rulers mobilised the conventions of Indian miniature painting and colonial photography, using colour and texture to highlight their singular iconography and indigenous significations of leadership, while reinscribing their identity as particular, recognisable and modern through photographic formats. Conversely, it will discuss the Maharaja of Banaras, Ishwari Prasad Narayan Singh’s attempts at reimagining Queen Victoria’s Leaves from the Journal of our Life in the Highlands from 1848 to 1861 (c. 1875) in the Indian vernacular. The talk examines the antagonism between paint and photography, proposing it as a way of thinking about photography’s mobilisation across competing colonial and indigenous priorities. These painted photographs also provide insights into the intricacies and operations of race and colonisation repressed within images.

Sushma Griffin is a Postdoctoral Fellow (2023-24) at the Yale University affiliated Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art in London, where she is working on a monograph entitled “Resistant Mediations: The Colonial Camera and the Art of Indian Pilgrimage”. Her publications include a book chapter in Nazar: Vision, Belief, and Perception in Islamic Cultures (Brill, 2021) and articles in various national and international journals.

View the entire series here.

Payment in advance essential. No refunds.

Please make all bookings and payments on this website. 


The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking "Get Tickets" will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Members Series Ticket - The Arts of India: New Perspectives
$ 60.00
Non-Members Series Ticket - The Arts of India: New Perspectives
$ 85.00


3 June
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm AEST
$15.00 – $85.00
Event Category: