General Claude Martin and his friends
Title General Claude Martin and his friends
Accession Number R2066
Title2 Colonel Polier with his Friends
Museum Name Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata
Gallery Name NA
Object Type Painting
Medium Oil on Canvas
Main Artist Johann Zoffany
Artist's Nationality German
Artist's Life Date / Bio Data He was a German neoclassical painter (1733-1810) active mainly in England, Known primarily as a painter of portraits, conversation pieces and theatrical subjects, Zoffany was born in Frankfurt, Germany, the son of an architect and court cabinet maker. He enjoyed court patronage throughout his career. Upon completion of his apprenticeship, he made the first of two trips to Rome in 1750, studying with the portrait painter Masucci. Zoffany arrived in England around 1760 and worked for some time as a drapery painter in the studio of Benjamin Wilson (1721-88), a minor portraitist. His career in England was established when the actor-manager David Garrick became his first major English patron. Zoffany painted four conversation pieces of the Garrick household in 1762, as well as numerous theatrical pictures which brought him to the attention of the public and, more importantly, Queen Charlotte, who became his patron. Zoffany exhibited at the Society of Artists from 1762 to 1769. He was nominated by George III for membership in the Royal Academy in 1769, exhibiting there from 1770 to 1800. Between 1772 and 1778 he worked primarily in Florence, where he painted The Interior of the Tribuna at Florence (Royal Collection). He returned to London in 1779 but, after a falling out with the King and Queen over his Tribuna, went to India in 1783, remaining there until 1789. He died at his home at Strand-on-the-Green and is buried in Kew Churchyard near London.
Provenance Through Sir Evan Cotton
Origin Place Frankfurt, Germany
School British School
Period / Year of Work 1786-87 CE
Dimensions 138 x 183 cm
Brief Description The painting depicts Colonel Antoine Polier, Claude Martin, and John Wombwell with the painter himself, Johann Zoffany, in the background, being waited on by Indian servants, probably in Lucknow around 1786-87. What is very interesting is that there is something written on a piece of paper stuck on the back of the picture on the wood, slightly torn here and there. But one can decipher the faded ink handwriting which says something like this: "Colonel Polier a ship's gentleman, afterwards on his returning to Europe murdered by his own servant, as he was giving orders to his cook. Mr.Wombwell then High Officer at Lucknow listens to Col. Martin showing him the plan of a house he is about to construct on the banks of the river and which Wombwell came to see and correspondence in the letter. Zoffany in the background scene Col. Polier's house at Lucknow 1880? There are five pictures all together within the picture (excluding what the servant is showing Martin)1. Rectangular picture on easel, Banyan tree, two sadhus one with fan one with beard and one European nude female sitting on haunches. 2. The oval picture above 1. Distant view of waterfall with snowy mountain top above. Upper middle is a fort, lower left an elephant taking a bath and being scrubbed by mahouts.3. The small picture to left of oval (2), funeral scene with someone lighting funeral pyre, lots of people about.4. Picture to the right of oval (2), bathing ghat with temple in background, country boat right foreground and lots of people, nearly all female bathers.5. Partially obscured circular pictures left of (1). One male adult, two female adults, one baby, river background.6. Circular picture to right of (1) Battle scene.