Rudolf Swoboda the younger (1859–1914) was a 19th-century Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...
n painter, born in Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...
. He studied under Leopold Carl Müller
Leopold Müller (painter)
Leopold Carl Müller was an Austrian genre painter.-Biography:...
, and voyaged with him to Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...
in 1880. He was a well-known Orientalist
Orientalism is a term used for the imitation or depiction of aspects of Eastern cultures in the West by writers, designers and artists, as well as having other meanings...
In 1886, Queen Victoria commissioned Swoboda to paint several of a group of Indian artisans who had been brought to Windsor as part of the Golden Jubilee
A Golden Jubilee is a celebration held to mark a 50th anniversary.- In Thailand :King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch, celebrated his Golden Jubilee on 9 June 1996.- In the Commonwealth Realms :...
preparations. Victoria liked the resulting paintings so much that she paid Swoboda's way to India to paint more of her Indian subjects.
Swoboda painted many of the ordinary people of India in a grouping of small (no more than eight inches high) paintings which resulted.
While in India, he stayed, part of the time, with John Lockwood Kipling
John Lockwood Kipling
John Lockwood Kipling, C.I.E. was an English art teacher, illustrator, museum curator, and father of author Rudyard Kipling.-Biography:...
, and met his son Rudyard Kipling
Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Kipling received the 1907 Nobel Prize for Literature...
. The younger Kipling was unimpressed with Swoboda, writing to a friend about two "Austrian maniacs" who thought they were "almighty" artists aiming to "embrace the whole blazing East".
Upon his return from India, he also painted (in 1888 and 1889) two portraits of Abdul Karim (the Munshi)
Abdul Karim (the Munshi)
Hafiz Mohammed Abdul Karim CIE, CVO , known as "the Munshi", was an Indian Muslim attendant of Queen Victoria. He served her during the final fifteen years of her reign, gaining her affection over that time....
, Victoria's favorite Indian servant.
Most of these Indian paintings hang at Osborne House
Osborne House is a former royal residence in East Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK. The house was built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a summer home and rural retreat....
, once Victoria's residence on the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, on average about 2–4 miles off the south coast of the county of Hampshire, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent...