Emperor’s private quarters (top right), The Emperor’s throne beneath Shah Jahan’s Scales of Justice (bottom right)
Author: Metcalfe, Sir Thomas Theophilus (1795-1853)
Medium: Ink and colours on paper
[From 'Reminiscences of Imperial Delhi’, an album consisting of 89 folios containing approximately 130 paintings of views of the Mughal and pre-Mughal monuments of Delhi, as well as other contemporary material, with an accompanying manuscript text written by Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe (1795-1853), the Governor-General’s Agent at the imperial court. Acquired with the assistance of the Heritage Lottery Fund and of the National Art-Collections Fund.]
The Tusbeeh Khana or Oratory is situated to the south of the Hall of Audience and immediately connected with the Female Apartments.
It is now commonly used for the more private Durbars or Levees, but originally, from the scales and the sword blades, the emblems of justice, it was evidently appropriated to purposes of higher import. These symbols are by no means of oriental character and they consequently confirm the belief that the Royal Palaces at Dehly and Agra were designed and superintended by European architects.
The small gilt wicket, seen in the 2nd of the two drawings and which represents the interior of the Tusbeeh Khana, was constructed in the days of anarchy and distrust and for the purpose of communication to the Emperor any secret intelligence of great moments and at the same time of protecting him from any sudden surprize on his own person.
The seat in front is the one now in use, but the pillows are sadly executed. The long round one supports the back and the two smaller ones, the knees. His Majesty, be it remembered, is accustomed to sit with his legs crossed before him. It was in this building and on this throne that his present Majesty was installed at midnight of the 23rd September 1837. The guard of honor on duty on that occasion was commanded by Captain, now Major Thompson C.B. the distinguished Officer of Engineers, who blew open the gate of the Fortress of Ghuznee when attacked by the British Army in 1839, and thereby paved the way for the successful issue of our first campaign in Afganistan.
[The Tasbih Khana or Emperor’s private quarters, viewed from the north. The Tasbih Khanna is part of the Khas Mahal or the private palace of the Mughal Emperor, within the Red Fort. It consists of three rooms, facing the Diwan-i-Khas, and was used for private worship by the emperor. On the northern marble screen is a representation of the scales of justice, which are suspended over a crescent with the stars and sky, surrounded by floral ornamentation.]
Inscribed: naqsha-i ‘aqab-i tasbih khana dar divan-i khass. ‘amal-i Mazhar ‘Ali Khan.
[The Emperor’s throne beneath Shah Jahan’s Scales of Justice in the Tasbih Khana.]
Inscribed: naqsha-i andarun-i tasbih khana … divan-i khass. ‘amal-i Mazhar ‘Ali Khan.