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View of the Delhi palace from Metcalfe House (left), Portrait of the Emperor Bahadur Shah II (right)

June 30, 1843
Scenery and Places
Bahadur Shah II 1837–1857

View of the Delhi palace from Metcalfe House (left), Portrait of the Emperor Bahadur Shah II (right)



[From 'Reminiscences of Imperial Delhi’, an album consisting of 89 folios containing approximately 130 paintings of views of the Mughal and pre-Mughal monuments of Delhi, as well as other contemporary material, with an accompanying manuscript text written by Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe (1795-1853), the Governor-General’s Agent at the imperial court. Acquired with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and of the National Art-Collections Fund.] The subjoined is a view from the Terrace of Mr. Metcalfe’s House of a portion of the Palace of Dehly built by the Emperor Shah Jahan and of the Pattan Fortress of Suleem Gurh, constructed by the Emperor Suleem Shah, son of the Pattan adventurer Shere Shah by whom the Moghul Emperor Hoomaioon was temporarily expelled from the throne of Dehly. The latter must have been built about the year 1539. The Bridge connecting the two, although in some degree assimilating to the Patan style of architecture, was built by the Emperor Shah Jahan at the same time with the Palace. The name Saleem Garh being associated with recollections derogatory to the dignity of the Imperial House of Timour, is never mentioned in the Royal presence or used in correspondence to and from His Majesty, that of Noor Garh or the Fortress of Light being substituted. N.B. In this I am incorrect. I have lately seen the inscription on the Bridge to the purport that it was built by the Emperor Jahangeer (Conqueror of the World) the Father of the Emperor Shah Jahan about the year AD1607. [View of the Delhi palace and Salimgarh with the connecting bridge, from the north. The Red Fort was the seat of the Mughal power until 1857, when Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor, was dethroned and exiled. The Fort was commissioned by Shah Jahan (r.1628-58) in 1639 and took nine years to build. Shah Jahan built the red fort as the palace of his new capital at Shajahanabad, Delhi. The wall on the north-east side is adjacent to the older Salimgarh fort, which was built by the son of Sher Shah Sur, Islam Shah (r.1545-54). Islam Shah, was also known as Salim Shah, and it is after him the Salimgarh fort is named. The thick ramparts and circular bastions, were built as a defence against the return of Humayun. Jahangir added a bridge which connected it to the Red Fort.] Inscribed: naqsha-i tripoliya va salimgarh va qil‘a-i shahjahanabad. Mazhar ‘Ali Khan. [The word 'tripoliya' seems to refer to the bridge connecting the two forts, although it has more than three openings. The view is probably taken from the Agency's building at Ludlow Castle. ] The Emperor Bahadur Shah. The Prince Aboo Zafr or the Victorious was the eldest son of the late Emperor Mohumud Ukbar Shah the 2nd, born in the year AD 1773, and ascended to the fallen Dignity of the once mighty House of Timour on the 29th September 1837. His father having demised at the Kootoob late in the evening, it was necessary to await the arrival thence of the several Emblems of Royalty before the Installation of the Successor could take place. It was therefore Midnight when the Ceremony was performed by the Agent to the Governor-General in the Tusbeeh Khana or Oratory adjoining the great Hall of Audience. The Prince on his accession assumed the style and title of Buhadur Shah. He is mild and talented but lamentably weak and vacillating and impressed with very Erroneous Notions of his own importance, productive of great Mortification to himself and occasionally of much trouble to the Local Authorities. [Oval bust portrait of the Emperor Bahadur Shah II, within a page of illumination. Bahadur Shah Zafar (1775-1862) was the last of the Mughal Emperors. He was born in Delhi on October 24 1775 and succeeded to the throne in 1837, at the age of sixty. After Aurangzeb’s death, the Mughal Empire slowly disintegrated. The British East India Company reduced Bahadur Shah Zafar and his family to a state of dependence, with the British Resident holding actual power. During the Uprising of 1857, Bahadur Shah joined the forces trying to throw the British out of India. He was defeated and was sent to exile in Rangoon, Burma, where he died on November 7, 1962. Bahadur Shah Zafar was a prolific Urdu poet and accomplished calligrapher. Under his patronage Urdu poetry flourished.] Inscribed above: Abu Zafar Siraj al-Din Muhammad Bahadur Shah Padshah Ghazi. Inscribed below: The Emperor Bahadoor Shah 1844.


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Ismail Mazari

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Very good information.


The Mughal Images immediately took a much greater interest in realistic portraiture than was typical of Persian miniatures. Animals and plants were the main subject of many miniatures for albums and were more realistically depicted. To upload your images click here.

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