Between 1707 and 1857, Delhi was a hotbed of political intrigue and power struggles—the Mughal Empire was on the decline and the British East India Company was emerging as a formidable power. In 1857, these tensions would culminate in the Mutiny that led to the end of Mughal dominion and the beginning of the British Raj. But this turbulent epoch also witnessed a burst of artistic innovation and experimentation.
Delhi’s artists were increasingly employed by Company officials as well as the Mughal and regional courts, and thus became adept at improvising with a variety of techniques, creating traditional miniatures while continually experimenting with new European styles. Art historians are only now coming to recognize the richness and ingenuity of the work created in this period. With insightful essays by distinguished scholars, Princes and Painters is a stunning visual document of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Delhi.