Sep 5, 2017

The Mausoleum of Akbar at Secundrabad

The Mausoleum of Akbar at Secundrabad

early 1800s

Watercolor on paper

Overall: 45.7 x 60.3 cm (18 x 23 3/4 in.)

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William E. Ward in memory of his parents, Lura and Edward Ward 1983.115



Before the invention of photography, British travelers in India collected watercolor sketches of monuments and picturesque scenes. This tomb near Agra marks the burial place of one of India’s most illustrious rulers, the Mughal emperor Akbar (1542–1605). In reality it is dominating in scale and ornamented with complex geometric and floral motifs articulated in multicolored stone inlays, relief carvings, and paintings. In this sketch, the site has been rendered in the muted tones that appealed to British taste of the time, and its ornament has been reduced and simplified, giving little indication of its grandeur.

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