Object photography

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Object description

  • Rembrandt Peale (American, 1778-1860)
  • Portrait of Raja Ram Mohun Roy, 1833
  • Oil on canvas
  • London, England, India
  • H: 30 in, W: 25 in
  • Museum purchase, 1999
  • 137982


Titled and dated on reverse "The Rajah Rammahun Roy/painted from life at London/August 1833/by Rembrandt Peale"


Framed 3/4 portrait of Rajah Rammohun Roy (1776-1833). Roy is dressed in a dark blue coat with a red panel and a red and gold turban. Gold buttons adorn the coat. He is painted against a mottled brown background. Further Remarks: Raja Ram Mohun Roy was a leading intellectual and social reformer in early 19th century India. He is credited with founding the first Indian-language newspaper and helped establish the first Western-style college in India. He promulgated a Hinduism without image-worship that recognized the universal unity of religions. In 1831 Roy traveled to England as the emissary of the Mughal emporer in Delhi to present grievances against the East India Company and its governing of India. The renowned American portrait painter Rembrandt Peale met Roy when both were in London in 1833, and their mutual interest in unitarian religions made them friends. This magnificent portrait reflects their personal rapport, the sitter's charismatic personality, and the outstanding abilities of the artist. John Quincy Adams mentions the painting in his diary (12 Dec. 1833), saying that Peale apparently painted the portrait a few days before Roy's death.

Exhibition History

  • Of Gods and Mortals, Traditional Art from India, Peabody Essex Museum; April 01, 2003 through July 15, 2012