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Mohamed Ali Khan Walejah, 1717 - 1795. Nawab of the Carnatic

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Mohamed Ali Khan Walejah, 1717 - 1795. Nawab of the Carnatic 1777

Not on display

  • Scottish Art
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.

Glossary Open


When an individual or organisation employs an artist to execute a particular project, the process and the resulting work are termed a ‘commission’.


A governer in India at the time of the Mogul empire, also used as a title for a Muslim nobleman or person of high status.

Commission, Nawab


  • Acc. No. PG 2959
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 236.20 x 146.00 cm
  • Credit Bequeathed by Douglas Willison Clark 1994