Featured 18th/19th Century Watercolor Paintings from India ?

Discussion in 'Art' started by Lithographer, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. Lithographer

    Lithographer Well-Known Member

    I picked up 2 watercolor paintings at a local thrift store yesterday, I am guessing they are from India. Both measure about 17" X 10" and are on laid paper. One has a watermark that I can't make out and the other says J. Whatman 1794. I understand that this watermark was used for a number of years. There is writing on the back of each one, a language that I do not recognize. I was hoping that someone could give me a little more insight into what these are and what the writing says. IMG_1040.jpg IMG_1041.jpg IMG_1042.jpg IMG_1043.jpg IMG_1044.jpg IMG_1045.jpg IMG_1046.jpg
    dude, aaroncab, kyratango and 3 others like this.
  2. blooey

    blooey Well-Known Member

    I would say this is a pretty nice find, mate!
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  3. Aquitaine

    Aquitaine Is What It IS! But NEVER BORED!

    Was able to enhance this one a bit, but obviously, cannot read it.....

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  4. moreotherstuff

    moreotherstuff Izorizent

    The perspective is European, but I doubt the same can be said for the artist, and it is not what I would expect from a local artist in the 18th or 19th C. If a European were doing the painting, I would expect Europeans to be depicted. If an Indian artist had been practiced in European perspective, they would have equally studied the other aspects of European art. The rendering here is quite naive. It's fairly common to find recent tourist art of this type on old paper and I suspect that is what you have.
  5. dude

    dude Well-Known Member

  6. Lithographer

    Lithographer Well-Known Member

    Thanks! I think you've made some really good points. Compared to the examples I have looked at, my paintings appear to be more like ones from the late 19th and early 20th century. From the condition of the framing materials I would guess that they were framed in the 60's or 70's. With respect to the paper, I have heard stories of people removing paper from old books to do drawings, paintings and forgeries! I do have some friends working on the translation, the writing appears to be Telugu.
  7. dude

    dude Well-Known Member

    I emailed a friend from India pics of them, and he says the depictions are of the Hindu religion. Sent a follow up email with specific questions--will let you know if he gives any more info.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2020
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  8. Bev aka thelmasstuff

    Bev aka thelmasstuff Colored pencil artist extraordinaire ;)

    Trying to find the right description of the images. Kali carries the severed head of Shiva, but she also carries a plate to hold the dripping blood. Rama has a bow and arrow, but no severed head.
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  9. Lithographer

    Lithographer Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to do a quick update on this post. I removed the paintings from their mats and discovered the writing on the back was transcribed from the original writing on the front. I looks like there may be a partial translation penciled under the one part. In addition it looks like there are page numbers in the lower left corner. I contacted a language professor at the University of Michigan and he verified that the writing is "Old Telugu". I will keep working on this and will let you know what I find out.

    IMG_1239.jpg IMG_1240.jpg IMG_1241.jpg IMG_1242.jpg IMG_1243.jpg
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  10. 2manybooks

    2manybooks Well-Known Member

    I think the second image may be depicting a scene from the Ramayana where the bad guy, Ravana, is "deceiving Sita with the illusion of Rama's head". Ravana is usually depicted with multiple heads and multiple arms. "He commanded the magician, Vidyjjihva to create the illusion of Rama's severed head and his bow and arrows in order to trick Sita into thinking that Ravana's forces had defeated Rama in battle." https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-1879517

    Here is what I think is a south Indian illustration from the Ramayana, showing Ravana in blue, and Rama in green (which may relate to your first image):

    In your first image, I don't think the blue fellow is a god. He looks more like a yogi/teacher. I would assume it also depicts something from the Ramayana, but not sure.

    Perhaps @Any Jewelry might recognize what is going on?
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2021
  11. Debora

    Debora Well-Known Member

    The use of the Western perspective is so intriguing. And carefully done; one can still see the rule marks.

  12. Lithographer

    Lithographer Well-Known Member

    Thanks so much, that is very interesting.
    2manybooks likes this.
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