seated, wearing a muslin jama , with a jewelled necklace, pearl earrings and a rose-coloured three-cornered plumed hat edged with green, silver-gilt frame set with cultured pearls and garnets inscribed verso: The Coorga Rajah's / daughter Mooda / Majee. / 1807
7.3 by 5.7cm.; 2 7/8 by 2 5/16 in.
Edward Grosvenor Paine, his sale Christie's London, 23 October 1979, lot 127;
Anonymous sale in these Rooms, 24 October 1988, lot 314
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A member of the Paleri dynasty, Mooda Maji was the second daughter of Dodda Vira Rajendra, Raja of Coorg (1763-1809) and his first wife Mahadeva Rani. As a consequence of continuing disputes with the neighbouring Kingdom of Mysore, the Raja made an alliance with the British in 1790, after which his troops provided invaluable support in the struggle against Tippu Sultan of Mysore. This strategic alliance inevitably fostered other less belligerent associations, such as the Raja's family sitting for a British artist.
Edward Nash sailed to India on the 'Hercules', arriving in Bombay in May 1801; he returned to England, on the 'Dover Castle', in July 1810. In this sympathetic portrait, which clearly shows the influence of Samuel Shelley, Nash's purported master, the child is shown wearing a fine jewelled necklace of typically Indian design.