This sketch of an individual, done by an Anglo-Indian artist around 1790, has the intriguing title of ‘A fool named Gungarum’. At first I wondered if it was a portrait of a recognised or quasi-professional fool, but noting the similarity between the fool’s name in the inscription and the name of the artist, one has to ask if it isn’t a self-portrait with a disarming bit of self-mockery.
A fool, feigned, real, self-professed or professional. We’ll probably never know.
Credit: A Fool Named Gungarum (c. 1790), Gangaram Chintaman Tambat (fl. c. 1790), Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B1977.14.22249, public domain, watercolor and graphite with pen and black ink on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Size: 17.1 × 13 cm