About this artwork

George Willison travelled to India in 1772 and became the official painter of the Mohamed Ali Khan Walejah, Nawab of the Carnatic. Between 1774 and 77 Willison received at least eight commissions for portraits of Mohamed Ali for which he was paid over £17,000. The Nawab was fabulously wealthy, as might be guessed from this image. His robes are threaded with pearls and he wears some very impressive diamonds. Just as the picture successfully melds western conventions of painting with a proudly eastern sitter, so the Nawab introduced some British ways to his court: tea at breakfast and sitting on chairs, rather than cushions.

George Willison

George Willison

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