Akbar II On An Elephant Artist unknown c.1827 Delhi, India Watercolor on paper “This Company Painting depicts Akbar II (1759-1837), who became the penultimate Mughal emperor (King of Delhi) in 1806. He is seated on an elephant with his son Prince Mirza Selim behind him holding a peacock-feather fan. The paper contains a watermark of 1821, and since the painting was formerly in the collection of Lord Amherst, Governor-General of Fort William (1823-1828), it was probably made for him and his wife during their visit to Delhi in 1827. On his death, Akbar II was succeeded by the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah II.
‘Company paintings’ were produced by Indian artists for Europeans living and working in the Indian subcontinent, especially British employees of the East India Company. They represent a fusion of traditional Indian artistic styles with conventions and technical features borrowed from western art. Some Company paintings were specially commissioned, while others were virtually mass-produced and could be purchased in bazaars.”