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“Sri Ganga Singh Bahadur” by James Guthrie

Sri Ganga Singh Bahadur, the Maharaja of Bikaner

“Sri Ganga Singh Bahadur” by James Guthrie

“Sri Ganga Singh Bahadur” by James Guthrie was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Bikaner, in present-day Rajasthan, India from 1888 to 1943.

As the only non-white member of the Imperial War Cabinet, he was present in the Palace of Versailles during The Signing of Peace in the Hall of Mirrors.

Sri Ganga Singhji Bahadur (1880 –  1943) succeeded his father at the age of seven and assumed full powers as a ruler at eighteen. He commanded the Bikaner Camel Corps as part of the British forces in China in 1901.

With the First World War outbreak in 1914, the Maharajah’s military career peaked. He was twice mentioned in dispatches and, by 1917, had been appointed Major-General in the British Army.

He was one of India’s three representatives at the Imperial War Cabinet of 1917 and the Peace Conference of 1919. In the peace years, he led the Indian delegations to the assemblies of the League of Nations.

Ganga Singh was Chancellor of the Indian Chamber of Princes from 1920–26. He also represented India as a delegate at the fifth session of the League of Nations in 1924. He is widely remembered as a modern reformist visionary.

Guthrie made this oil sketch in preparation for his great commission “Statesmen of the Great War.”

James Guthrie

Sir James Guthrie (1859 – 1930) was a Scottish painter, best known in his own lifetime for his portraiture, although today more generally regarded as a painter of Scottish Realism.

In 1919, Guthrie was commissioned by a South African financier to paint a group portrait of 17 politicians and statesmen of Britain and its allies who held office during the First World War.

The painting, “Statesmen of World War I,” was completed in 1930, shortly before Guthrie’s death. The painting was donated to the National Portrait Gallery, London. Guthrie’s 17 preparatory oil studies were also donated to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

"David Lloyd George" by James Guthrie

“Statesmen of World War I” by James Guthrie

“Statesmen of World War I” by James Guthrie was commissioned to commemorate Britain’s politicians and statesmen and its allies who held office during the First World War.

It is a group portrait of seventeen figures, some seated and some standing. As preparatory work, Guthrie painted a study of each subject separately; he held sittings between 1919 to 1921. 

Sri Ganga Singh Bahadur, the Maharaja of Bikaner

  • Title:                 Sri Ganga Singh Bahadur, the Maharaja of Bikaner
  • Artist:               James Guthrie
  • Date:                1920
  • Medium:          Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions:    Height: 111.2 cm (43.7 in); Width: 86.8 cm (34.1 in)
  • Category:         Popular Portrait Paintings
  • Museum:         Scottish National Gallery

James Guthrie

Maharajah Of Bikaner: A Royal Birthday (1946)

A Virtual Tour of Portraits

Diamond Jubilee Of Maharaja Of Kapurthala, India (1938)

Virtual Tour of the Scottish National Gallery

Maharajah Troops His Colours (1948)

~~~

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”
– William Shakespeare

~~~


Photo Credit: 1) James Guthrie / Public domain.

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