About this artwork

From 1901 to 1926, the Begum ruled the Indian Princely State of Bhopal, now part of Madhya Pradesh in India. She is seen here in full state dress in her palace in Bhopal. Described as intensely pro-British, the Begum proudly displays the medals awarded to her for services to the British Empire. The chair, next to which she is standing, is decorated with the state’s coat of arms. Bhopal was unique among the princely states as it was ruled by a succession of widows. A reformer, the Begum did much to advance the position of women and education in Bhopal. However, her main legacy was public health, adopting widespread inoculation and vaccination, improving sanitation, hygiene and the water supply.

Fred Bremner

Fred Bremner