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Last Days of The Raj - A Trooper of the Governor-General’s Bodyguard, Bombay, 1944

Watercolour on paper. Insightful portrait of Trooper of the Governor-General’s Bodyguard Vasantrao Abasaheb Shinde / age 25 years / Native Place Malangaon (Kolhapur) / Serving for 2 years and 9months / in / The Governor of Bombay’s Body Guards.’, Signed and dated 1944.

The Bombay Governor's Bodyguard was formed at Poona (now Pune) in 1865 from part of the 1st South Mahratta Horse. Under the re-organizations of 1895 and 1938 its composition was restructured to include Punjabi Muslims, Deccani Muslims and Sikhs. The G.B.G of Bombay Presidency was disbanded at Indian Independence in 1947. Like its counterparts of the Governor of Madras's Bodyguard and the Governor General's Bodyguard, the Bombay force was an Indian equivalent of Britain's Household Cavalry.

Janardhan Dattareya Gondhalekar (1909-1981) trained at the Sir J. J. School of Art in Mumbai, the Slade in London and at the Academie Julian in Paris. He also studied conservation at the Laboratoria Centrale des Musees in Belguim under a UNESCO Fellowship in 1950. His wartime portrait of Trooper Shinde undoubtedly combines his capacity to pull together the formal techniques of European art practice and bind them with the mythic imagination of his indigenous environment. His successful combination of European and Indian themes won him an international audience and wide acclaim as a cultural visionary. As the art director of the Times of India he wrote and broadcast widely. He was Dean of the Sir J.J. School of Art in Mumbai and a film industry art director.

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