The Diwan-i-Khas or Hall of Private Audience, Delhi
Watercolour of The Diwan-i-Khas or Hall of Private Audience, Delhi, c. 1815. The 'Lal Qila' or Red Fort was commissioned by Shah Jahan (r.1627-58) in 1639 as part of his new city of Shahjahanabad. It took nine years to build and was the seat of the Mughal power until 1857, when Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor was dethroned and exiled. The Diwan-i-Khas, or Hall of Private Audience, was the venue for imperial audiences with members of court, local dignitaries and government members, and foreign ambassadors. The hall is built brick and faced in white marble inlaid with precious stones. Its ceiling, which was once silver, was removed by the Marathas whilst the spectacular PeacockThrone was taken by Nadir Shah of Persia in 1739. Inscribed on the front of the watercolour in pencil reads: 'Royal Marble Hall of Audience Delhi.' Watermark: 'Edmeads & Pine 1809.'