SIKAR. Maha-Rao Raja Madho Singhji Sahaib of Sikar, 1880s


The full length portrait, 7½ x 9¼ ins, is mounted on old photographer’s card with an applied contemporary label printed in red reading Maha-Rao Rajaji Shree Madho Singhji Sahib Bahadur. of SIKAR. The marks around the upper margins of the image are probably where a window mount has once been fixed over the card but they dont affect the sitter. The ruler of this state in the Shekhwati area of north eastern Rajasthan is shown wearing a style of uniform often seen worn by state troops and he carries a sword of British cavalry pattern. There is no photographer’s credit but the inefficient use of the ill fitting background cloth suggests a local origin.

The area, between the large states of Jaipur and Bikaner is renowned for its fascinating and very distinctive range of painted houses. The Raja was born in 1860 and the phtograph probably dates from before 1886, when the Raja was awarded a K.C.I.E. Portraits of him wearing that order can be seen on the family website Thikana Sikar.      feb13/1

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