A Sikh Prince with his staff, circa 1875


A good carte de visite, 4¼ x 2½ ins showing a Sikh rulker with his staff in military uniform. We cannot give an absolute identification of the ruler but the most likely sitter is H. H. Maharaja Sir Mohinder Singh, G.C.S.I. of Patiala [1852-1876], father of the more famous Bhupinder Singh. There is no photographer’s credit to the card but it may well have been taken around the time of the visit to India of H R H the Prince of Wales in 1875. Patiala, a 17 gun salute state, was chief of the handful of Sikh states in the Punjab, along with Kapurthala, Jhind, and Nabha. The most compelling evidence for this is in the photograph itself as the sitter wears the sash and star of the Order of the Star of India. Mohinder Singh was awarded his G.C.S.I. in May 1870. The other person considered was H. H. Raja Kharak Singh of Kapurthala, father of Jagatjit Singh [born 1872] but he did not hold the order. The uniform is very similar to that seen in other photographs of Patiala and the arms displayed on the two sabretaches is most likely to be that of the State with its horse and lion supporters.           dec4/1

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