Major William Palmer with His Second Wife, the Mughal Princess Bibi Faiz Bakhsh
By Johann Zoffany
Date painted: 1785
Oil on canvas, 101.5 x 127 cm
Her sister on his left. Three of his children and three women attendants complete the group.
The painting has also been attributed to Francesco Renaldi.
A relation to WIlliam Palmer, Richard Palmer explains that the painting is by Zoffany and is unfinished. It was probably painted at Lucknow. The original is in the India Office in London, having been purchased by them in 1925. The lady on my Great, Great, Great Grandfather's left is his sister-in-law. Major, (later General,) William Palmer (b. 1740 - d. 1816) was, in the early days of his career in India, confidential secretary to Warren Hastings; and Political Agent in Gwalior, 1791 - 94. He married, (in 1779) Fais Baksh, (d. 1828) a princess of the Royal House of Delhi, and a descendant of the Shah Jahan, the builder of the Taj Mahal. The Princess is the lady on his right. The other three women are the children's amahs, (their Indian nannies). Although the lady on the extreme right could in fact be the mother of Faiz. The youngest child in the picture, on the knee of the Princess, is William, my Great, Great Grandfather, (b. 1780 - d.1867) later a Brigadier-General and founder of William Palmer and Company, bankers and merchants of Hyderabad. He became known as 'King' Palmer. The celebration of such relationships in paint would have been entirely unacceptable to later generations in British India.
Collection: British Library