GARHWAL PAINTING
If this vital migration is assigned to the years 1769 to 1775, from what centre, then, can the artists have come? At first sight, Kangra itself would certainly appear to be the most likely source. Not only would it explain the prevalence of closely similar idioms but it would also account for the same enraptured treatment of romantic themes. Yet when we consider the theory more closely, some crucial difficulties appear. So far as we know, the great style of Kangra was a sudden development in Kangra itselfas sudden as the new style in Garhwal. Until 1780, there is no evidence that Kangra possessed any painting of this kind and it was the migration to Kangra of outside artists as well as the chance succession of Raja Sansar Chand (ruled 1775-1823), which brought it into being. We cannot date his effective patronage earlier than 1780 for even then he was only fifteen years of age. In fact it was not until 1786 that he had subdued his neighbours and consolidated his position. If, therefore, Garhwal painting was a direct offshoot from Kangra, we must assume, firstly, that it developed after 1780, thereby negativing the evidence we have just discussed and, secondly, that certain artists migrated from Kangra at the very time when Sansar Chand was exerting his strongest patronage. Such a possibility cannot be excluded but it is certainly most unlikely. But perhaps the greatest difficulty in accepting this theory lies in the character of the two styles. When, somewhat later in the nineteenth century, the Kangra style did in fact spread to other centres, the dependence of these provincial offshoots on the parent school is obvious enough. At Garhwal, on the other hand, the style is so authentic and individual that while there is certainly a marked affinity with Kangra art, the sense of any close dependence is wanting. It is rather as parallel developments from the same artistic source that the two styles must be regarded.
If this conclusion is accepted, it would follow that just as artists from the State of Guler migrated to Kangra in about the year 1780, and there produced the Kangra style, a previous migration took some of them to Garhwal ten years earlier. We know that during the reign of Raja Gobardhan Singh of Guler (ruled 1744-73) a process of keen experimentation had been going on. Romantic poetry was being illustrated with fresh delicacy. Ladies were being portrayed with fluid grace, and a quality of tender sensuousness, lacking in certain earlier and more violent products, was steadily emerging. Yet although a new romantic style was in process of development and many novel idioms had appeared, no single manner had been finally adopted. If, therefore, certain artists now went to Garhwal, the change of court could well have precipitated a new coherent style. Equally, if shortly afterwards, other artists went to Kangra, a second, broadly similar style might be expected to result. Each style would have its roots in former Guler practice. Each would closely resemble the other yet each would represent a new artistic trend. And although there is no exact or final proof, a number of circumstances suggest that this is what occurred.

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