Company school, India
opaque watercolour on paper
37.5 x 55cm
The comb duck (Sarkidiornis melanotos) had been an object of curiosity to foreigners since the time of Babur, who mentions it specifically in his memoirs. In the later 18th century officials of the East India Company, much impressed by the skill of Mughal painters, took to commissioning studies of native flora and fauna. This painting was done for the collection of Major James Nathaniel Rind, who served with the 18th Native Infantry in India from 1778 to 1801.
L. York Leach, Paintings from India, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume VIII, London 1998, cat.57, pp.192–3. J.M. Rogers, The Arts of Islam. Masterpieces from the Khalili Collection, London 2010, cat.345, p.291.