The portrait on the present lot is that of Maharajah Sardar Singh (1880-1911) who became ruler of Jodhpur at the age of fifteen. Sardar Singh visited Europe in 1901 and is known for his involvement in extending the railway from Jodhpur to Hyderabad.
It is interesting to note that the portrait featured in the brooch pinned to Maharajah Sardar Singh's turban is likely that of Jaswant Singh II of Jodhpur (1873–1896) whom he succeeded as Maharajah of Jodhpur in 1896.
Watches made for the Indian market, known as 'Maharaja watches', frequently made use of photographs sent from Indian dignitaries so that artists in Geneva could render the portraits in enamel. Of the half-dozen most esteemed artists specializing in this work, John Graff (1836-1902) rose to the top of his field.
These subjects presented a particular challenge to enamelers, as the color schemes favored by the subjects' dress were so vivid that work by less talented Western artists appeared gaudy. Graff's portraits, however, are a testament to his understanding of color, and portray the dignitaries in their intended grandeur.
Furthermore, the portraits were done using often-blurry
photographs sent from India as the basis, rather than seeing the subject first-hand or working from a clear likeness.
Love the turquoise and aubergine combo. These finds and lots more at The People's Store in Lambertville NJ- this weekend is 20% off store-wide as part of the Art and Antique weekend put on by the Delaware River Towns Chamber of Commerce.