A Fraser Album Artist: An elephant and driver, probably from the Mughal Emperor's stable, with a hunting howdah equipped with a rifle, bows and a pistol.
Delhi, 1815-19 ca.
Pencil and watercolour, heightened with bodycolour and gold, on paper, inscribed upper left Mawla Bakhsh in Persian in nasta'liq script, further inscribed faintly centre left fil mawla bakhsh-e khassa-ye hozur-e vala, 'The elephant Mawla Bakhsh of the royal majestic presence', framed.
According to the account given by S. Mahdi Husain in Bahadur Shah Zafar and the War of 1857 in Delhi, 1958, repr. 2006, p. 54, an elephant called Mawla Bakhsh was a favourite pet of Bahadur Shah II. Presumably, given the earlier date, this same animal survived another forty years, or the name was carried over to other elephants in the royal menagerie.