, The emperor Babur Enlarge 1 /1
Deccan painting, possibly Machilipatnam style The emperor Babur [The first Mogul Emperor, Babur] c. 1780 Place made: Andhra Pradesh, India
Materials & Technique: paintings, miniatures, opaque watercolour and gold leaf on paper Support: paper
Primary Insc: Inscribed upper centre, above image, in pencil in Telugu
Tertiary Insc: Inscribed lower right edge, below image, in black ink "G-A.P.262". Inscribed on verso upper right edge, in blue ink "GAP262".
Dimensions: image 20.8 h x 16.2 w cm border 29.4 h x 21.8 w cm
Acknowledgement: The Gayer-Anderson Gift 1954
Accession No: NGA 91.1408
Subject: Royalty Portrait: male
  • Acquired by Henry Russell, 2nd Baronet, while stationed in Hyderabad, Telangana, India, between 1800 and 1820
  • probably exported from India by Henry Russell, 1820
  • probably held in the collection of Sir Henry Russell, 2nd Baronet, of Swallowfield Park, Reading, Berkshire, England, 1820-1852
  • after the death of Sir Henry Russell in 1852 the collection may have passed by descent through various successive generations of the Russell family, but it was dispersed by sale at some point between 1852 and 1952
  • with Walker Galleries, London, England, 1952 or before
  • who sold it to Colonel Thomas Gayer Gayer-Anderson, 1952
  • held in the collection of Colonel Thomas Gayer Gayer-Anderson and the late Major Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson, Pasha, both of Little Hall, Lavenham, Suffolk, England, 1952-1953
  • who gave it to the Commonwealth of Australia, 1953
  • held by National Library of Australia, Canberra, after transfer from London, 1954-1991
  • transferred to the collection of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 1991.
  • The collecting history of this painting is unconfirmed between its creation and the earliest confirmed transaction, its purchase in Hyderabad between 1800 and 1820. A further break in the known provenance exists between the death of Sir Henry Russell in 1852 and the appearance of the painting at Walker’s Galleries, London in 1952. The National Gallery of Australia welcomes further information regarding its history of ownership in either of these periods.

A descendant of Genghis Khan and Timur (Tamerlane), Babur (1483–1530, ruled 1526–30) swept into India from the west with his army in 1526 and established himself as the first Mughal emperor. Seated on a throne beneath a parasol, a symbol of royalty, and fanned by peacock feathers, Babur receives a finely dressed man—probably his son and successor, Humayun. The great Mughal rulers of the past were popular subjects for the painters of Hyderabad as they represented the link between current rulers and the founders of the Mughal empire.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label