Abstract: This thesis examines the stylistic development of the artist 'Mihr Chand, son of Ganga Ram' (fl. 1759-86), who travelled across northern India in the hope of finding a beneficent patron. The initial hypothesis, which this thesis proposes, is that Mihr Chand's idiosyncratic approach to the established painting tradition earmarked him as the forerunner in the late eighteenth century art scene in Faizabad and Delhi. I suggest that it was Mihr Chand's thirst for new knowledge that prompted the artist to evaluate the visual resources available and assimilate these new techniques within his works rather than a consequence of the influence of his European patron, Antoine Polier. As Mihr Chand primarily flourished in Faizabad (1765-76), in the province of Awadh, I offer a review on the position of the provincial governors, the Nawabs of Awadh, on their role as the initiators of the late Mughal painting tradition during the second half of the eighteenth century in Chapter 1. To provide the context to analyse Mihr Chand's stylistic development, I suggest a revised and expanded art historical framework of the painting tradition that took place in Delhi and Awadh in Chapter 2. This chapter also addresses the issue of European officers, who cultivated and sponsored local artists to produce numerous illustrations and paintings in Faizabad and later in Lucknow. The following chapter outlines Mihr Chand's biographical details and his chronology of style. I develop Mihr Chand's approach to landscape, portraiture, and architectural drawings in Chapters 4-6. The last two chapters question the artist's originality and his direct impact on artists in Faizabad, Lucknow, Delhi, and Jaipur at the end of the eighteenth century.
Abstract: Scholars have acknowledged that Mihr Chand, son of Ganga Ram (flourished c. 1759–86) is one of the finest artists to have flourished in the Mughal province of Awadh, at Faizabad and Lucknow, during the second half of the eighteenth century. Whilst it has been known that Mihr Chand received patronage from the British East India Company officer Antoine Polier (1741–95) and that the majority of his known works have been identified within the Polier-Hamilton collection at the Museum for Islamic Art in Berlin, very little investigative research has been undertaken that would identify the artist's career path and deconstruct his painterly style. Through comparative analysis of the collections amassed by Antoine Polier and his contemporaries, new information has come to light which identifies Mihr Chand's source material that inspired six of his oeuvres in the Polier-Hamilton albums.