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The Delhi Book

William Dalrymple discusses the Delhi Book, an album containing over 100 paintings by Mazhar Ali Khan depicting the city of Delhi in the 19th century.

The writer and historian William Dalrymple concludes his short history of India through five great works of art and sculpture.

For this last episode Dalrymple has chosen the Delhi Book, an album containing over 100 paintings of the great Indian city in the 19th century. Many of these topographical works are by the famous artist Mazhar Ali Khan. He worked in Delhi in the late Mughal era, in what became known as the 'Company Style' of painting under Western influence. Sir Thomas Metcalfe, who was working in India as the Governor-General's Agent, commissioned the Delhi Book and had it sent back to England in 1844 as a gift to his daughters.

Dalrymple tells the story of this book of paintings and the often-bizarre British characters who lived and worked in Delhi. He describes the importance of the Delhi Book in recording how this great city looked in the 19th century. He looks at the life of Mazhar Ali Khan and describes how Mughal and British artistic impulses fused during this brief period to create a remarkable final phase to the history of Indian miniature painting.

'A Short History of Indian Art' is a Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 3. The producer is Anthony Denselow.

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15 minutes

Last on

Fri 16 Jun 2017 22:55

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