Posted on: 27 February 2013

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

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One of the White Mughals. This is a beautiful painting.

Gorgeous painting! Where are the descendants?

Before the Memsahibs arrived

Faiz Baksh was also the name of a ship that got wrecked on Andaman islands in the 18th century. Perhaps it belonged to the EICo.

This very painting and the story of its subjects is fleshed out in William Dalrymple's "White Mughals". Palmer's surviving children were "white" enough to be sent to England for their education, after which some returned to India for service. Anglo-Indian children who were "dark"were schooled locally.

Was amazing to read how some high heeled British embraced the indian culture ..

Such mingling came to an end around 1858, with the Proclamation of Queen Victoria . With the East India company now no longer in control,and the assumption of governance by the British crown, the social interaction between the ruler and the ruled changed dramatically.

Hello Ms. Majumdar. Filial relations between the races began its decline in the late eighteenth century when Anglo-Indians began to outnumber Whites, which was also the time "Fishing Fleets" carrying White women seeking alliances began arriving. There is a chapter on this subject in 'India Britannica' by Geoffrey Moorhouse together with more diffuse treatment in Percival Spear's 'Nabobs'.

Picture is of my G.G.G.Great grand parents

Palmer was connected enough to send his children abroad; for some years, Eurasians unable to do so, among a host of restrictions.