Sheikh Zainuddin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Sheikh Zainuddin
শেখ জয়নুদ্দীন
Saras by Sheikh Zainuddin.jpg
Saras by Zainuddin
Patna, India
Known forIllustrations of fauna and flora
Patron(s)Elijah Impey

Sheikh Zainuddin (Bengali: শেখ জয়নুদ্দীন) was a Bengali Muslim artist of the East India Company period and one of the local artists who rose to prominence under European patronage in British Raj.[1] His works blending Mughal and Western painting techniques belonged to the Company style of painting.[2]


In the late eighteenth century, he worked under Mary Impey, the wife of Sir Elijah Impey, Chief Justice of Calcutta Supreme Court.[2] Among the three artists she brought from Patna to make realistic sketches of birds and animals of her private menagerie, Zainuddin was the foremost. Zainuddin combined English botanical illustration with Mughal Patna Qalam style.[2] In his paintings, modern critics appreciate the way a "bright, simple background offsets the keenly wrought details of plants and animals".[3]

From 1777 to 1782, Zainuddin worked on Whiteman art paper manufactured in England for his transparent watercolor paintings. For his tinted drawings and sketches, he employed meticulous calligraphic strokes reminiscent of the works of Mughal Court artist Ustad Mansur. His drawings of mountain-rats, hanging bats, parrots, and storks are distinctive for having both aesthetic appeal and scientific value. These are now preserved in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.[1]


Zainuddin's work was first exhibited in 2019 at London's Wallace Collection, along with that of 17 other artists commissioned by the British East India Company. The director of the Wallace Collection, Xavier Bray, told Smithsonian that in Zainuddin's paintings, "Everything is incredibly precise and beautifully observant."[3]


  1. ^ a b Nazma Khan Majlis (2012). "Zainuddin, Sheikh". In Islam, Sirajul; Miah, Sajahan; Khanam, Mahfuza; Ahmed, Sabbir (eds.). Banglapedia: the National Encyclopedia of Bangladesh (Online ed.). Dhaka, Bangladesh: Banglapedia Trust, Asiatic Society of Bangladesh. ISBN 984-32-0576-6. OCLC 52727562. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Verma, Rahul (11 February 2020). "Rediscovering India's Forgotten Masterpieces". BBC. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  3. ^ a b Crawford, Amy. "The Awe-Inspiring Wildlife Drawings of Shaikh Zain ud-Din". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2020-01-06.

External links[edit]