, A keeper exercising a lion Enlarge 1 /1
Mughal dynasty, Jahangir period (1605-27) A keeper exercising a lion early 17th century Description: Page from an album: a keeper exercising a lion [recto] | arabesque panel [verso]
Place made: Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India
Materials & Technique: paintings, miniatures, charcoal, opaque watercolour and gold on paper; siyah qalam (black-brush) Support: paper
Dimensions: image (recto) 16.0 h x 23.5 w cm album page 27.0 h x 42.2 w cm
Acknowledgement: The Gayer-Anderson Gift 1954
Accession No: NGA 91.1328A
  • Acquired in India by a collector named Fadnis (alternatively spelled Phadanavis or Furnuwees), mid-1800s or before
  • by descent to his great-grandson B.M. Fadnis, Pune, Maharashtra, India
  • who sold it to Colonel Thomas Gayer Gayer-Anderson, 1927
  • exported from India by Colonel Thomas Gayer Gayer-Anderson, 1930
  • held in the collection of Colonel Thomas Gayer Gayer-Anderson and Major Robert Grenville Gayer-Anderson, Pasha, both of Little Hall, Lavenham, Suffolk, England, 1927-1953
  • 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 partial. Its whereabouts are unknown between its creation and entering the Fadnis Collection in the mid-1800s or before. The earliest confirmed transaction is its purchase by the donor in India in 1927. The National Gallery of Australia welcomes further information regarding its history of ownership prior to 1927.

Now an endangered species, Asiatic lions were so common during the time of the Mughal emperor Jahangir (1569–1627, ruled 1605–27) that they made travel unsafe. Jahangir and his courtiers frequently hunted lions and the emperor once wrote about a hunt in which he was so struck by the majesty of a lion he had shot that he asked for its portrait to be painted. The lion in this painting embodies the majestic qualities associated with the power, strength and leadership of Mughal emperors.

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