Collection of 158 paintings and drawings
- Art Funded
J. C. French served in the Indian Civil Service where he started to collect from 1908 onwards. His taste was unusually wide and included not only a variety of provincial Mughal paintings but the vigorous and lively early Rajput schools which did not appeal to most collectors of his generation. Mr French's special interest lay in the Punjab Hill-States. He acquired important examples of the schools of Basohli, Guler, Kulu, Nurpur, Chamba, and Garhwal, as well as of the better known Kangra school. Among the most attractive drawings are several illustrating themes from the life of Krishna, from his childhood, his experiences as a cowherd, and his love for the milkmaids, and above all for Radha. Other favourites in the collection show the pastoral life of Siva and Parvati in the Himalayas, and scenes from the great epic of the Ramayana. Historically of great importance are the portraits and portrait groups and the collection contains notable examples of this kind. Finally, there are a number of drawings, sometimes partly coloured, which show the lyrical line of the Hill painter in all its beauty.