Ink and opaque watercolor on paper
12 x 20 in. (30.5 x 50.8 cm)
Louis E. and Theresa S. Seley Purchase Fund for Islamic Art and Rogers Fund, 1994 (1994.280)
There is something hypnotic and disquieting about this near mirror image of a syce, or groom, flanked by almost identical horses. The artist has chosen a pictorial format whose power is as decorative as it is descriptive. The strict symmetry is relieved, however, by subtle differences in the sizes, proportions, and harnessing of the horses, as well as by slight left-right variations in the posture and dress of the groom. The darks are very dark and the lights very light, intensifying the decorative appeal of the composition. Although the color is severely restricted, the artist has beautifully realized the feel of Indian light, and the low horizon line makes both the space and the foreground trio appear truly monumental. The painting's beauty and subtlety testify to the high quality that late Company School artists could attain.