, Palace women celebrating Shab-I Barat Enlarge 1 /1

Studio of Mihr Chand

Studio of Mihr Chand


  • active at Faizabad, then moved to Lucknow when the court of Awadh changed location in 1775

Artist's cultural association:
Mughal painting
Palace women celebrating Shab-I Barat [The Feast of Lights] c. 1680 Description: Page from an album: palace ladies celebrating Shab-e-Barat i [recto] | calligraphy panel [verso]
Place made: Delhi, India
Materials & Technique: paintings, miniatures, opaque watercolour, gold Support: paper

Dimensions: image (recto) 21.6 h x 13.8 w cm album page 48.1 h x 33.4 w cm
Acknowledgement: The Gayer-Anderson Gift 1954
Accession No: NGA 91.1398A
Subject: Royalty Religious festivals Calligraphy
  • Likely from an album compiled in the studio of artist Mihr Chand for Shuja-al-Daula, Nawab of Awadh (1732-1775), Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, c.1770, and later dispersed from his collection either by gift or sale by his descendants
  • likely collected in India by Admiral Sir Edmund Robert Fremantle between 1888 and 1891
  • likely exported from India by Admiral Sir Edmund Robert Fremantle in 1891
  • known as the Fremantle Album, reputedly damaged by World War II bombing in London, around 1942
  • with book publisher Luzac & Co., London, England, 1948 or before
  • who sold it to Colonel Thomas Gayer Gayer-Anderson, 1948
  • 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, 1948-1953
  • 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 album page is partial. Its whereabouts are unknown between being bound for Shuja-al-Daula around 1770 and collected by Admiral Sir Edmund Robert Fremantle between 1888 and 1891, and between its disposal by Fremantle or his descendants and the donor’s purchase in London in 1948. The National Gallery of Australia welcomes further information regarding its history of ownership prior to 1948.

Colourful and joyous festivals celebrated at court and by the public were a popular subject for Indian painting. Here the women of the zenana, or female quarters, let off fireworks during Divali, Festival of Lights. Characteristic of the Indian painting styles which were influenced by miniatures of the Mughal period, architectural settings, curtains and carpets, dress and decorative objects, as well as the sparks of the fireworks, are all rendered in exquisite detail.

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