EVEN BLEAK TIMES IN LAHORE 1796 AD, YET PAINTERS THERE
SHAHBAZ BILGRAMI LAHORI MAKING ON DEMAND PORTRAITS
A rare portrait of Sardar Ilm Khan Wazir of Taimur Durrani
We do not know the present location of this work, but it is a rarest kind of work. This is before Ranjit Singh captured Lahore. It is signed as Amal Shahbaz Bilgrami and it is a portrait of a Wazeer of Viceroy of Lahore Taimur Khan Durrani, descendant of Ahmad Shah Abdalli. Of course it is a reflection of those times that the portrait is plain as well as the illumination. But in those bleak times, the presence of painters in Lahore makes some sense of our assertion of Lahore being obsessed with its pictorial legacy. Even the farman of that period addressed to Qazi Muhammed Siddique of Lahore represents the bleak times in the city.
There were great artists even in those times. Two brothers who used to live in the Chowk of Nawab Wazeer Khan, namely Elia (Ali) Naqash and Nabia (Nabi) Baksh, for lack of patronage, decided to migrate to Jammu and Kashmeer. We have in our archives some paintings on Hindu themes by Elia Naqash, but that is a different story.