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Ahmednuggur, Sulubut Khan's Tomb

William Simpson (1823-1899)


Signed with initials, inscribed with title and dated 1871

Watercolour with pencil

5 x 7 ¼ inches

'Chris Beetles Summer Show', 2018, No 23

William Simpson spent three years in India between 1859 and 1862, and returned to the country in 1875 to cover the tour of Edward, the Prince of Wales. He certainly visited Ahmednagar, in the state of Maharashtra, in 1861, recording in his autobiography that ‘I put up with Major Edward Beale, brother of Dr Anthony Beale’ (George Eyre-Todd (ed), The Autobiography of William Simpson, RI, London: T F Unwin, 1903, page 168).

One of the major sights in the area of Ahmednagar is the tomb of Salabat Khan II, the enlightened chief minister of Murtaza, the fourth Mizam shah, who ascended to the throne in 1565. According to Radhey Shyam, in his
The Kingdom of Ahmadnagar, ‘Salabat Khan’s regime was a glorious chapter in the history of the kingdom’ (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1966, page 181). However, political scheming within the court led to a rift between Salabat Khan and Murtaza, and Salabat Khan ‘voluntarily went into imprisonment in the fort of Dandarajpuri’ (loc cit). He spent further spells in prison under subsequent rulers. His mausoleum is a masterpiece of Deccan pre-Mughal architecture, consisting of a three-storey stone octagon, with arches on each side and at every level. It was originally planned to be eight storeys high.

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