The panel of Florentine pietra dura work installed at the back of throne in the jharoka
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.]
It is generally admitted that architects from Europe were employed in constructing the magnificent palaces of Agra and Dehly. If any doubt exists, let the annexed facsimile of a mosaic at the back of the throne in the Dewan-e-Aum or Public Hall of Audience for the nobility be accounted for.
It is unquestionably a representation of our Orpheus and from the description of the instrument the Cremona as certainly taken from the design of the celebrated Raphael who flourished between AD 1483 and 1520.
The animal genus, rudely as they are depicted, complete the identity. But above all, so little do the natives of Dehly comprehend the meaning of the figures etc., that they have designated it the Miriam or the Blessed Mary (N.B. Properly Mareem, the Virgin Mother of whom the Muhammodans speak respectfully, but often confuse with Miriam, the sister of Moses), the mother of our Saviour, a proof that they even believe the work to have been executed by a foreigner, for no heathen could have designed a representation of the nature they suppose it to be.
[The panel of Florentine pietra dura work representing Orpheus charming the wild animals with his music, installed at the back of throne in the jharoka. The panel's central location above the throne of the Emperor was chosen as Orephus, the birds, flowers and lions appeared to symbolise the Throne of Solomon, the ideal model of Just Islamic kingship. (See Ebba Koch, 'Shah Jahan and Orephus', Graz, 1988). ]