Deconstruction, Deconstructions, Design, Image Management, Painting, Photography, Reviews, Technical

Jama Masjid’s View by William Carpenter

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Jama Masjid


The above masterpiece is by William Carpenter. He is a 19th century British artist and painter who travelled within India and painted many Indian scenes of that timeline using water colors. He has contributed almost 280 paintings during his 7-8 years visit in India which was later purchased by Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


Earlier, I had posted a deconstruction of another mosque explaining about how a scale perspective works.


This painting of the Jama Masjid view is quite different as William has used a rule known as “Rabatment of rectangle”. The rule says that every rectangle contains two implied squares, each consisting of a short side of the rectangle, an equal length along each longer side, and an imaginary fourth line parallel to the short side. The process of mentally rotating the short sides onto the long ones is called “rabatment“, and often the imaginary fourth line is called “the rabatment”.


The scale concept is used to show the steps towards the Masjid and also the Masjid as a whole. The Masjid is kept at the right rabatment and the story (the woman and some elder people cooking food) is happening in the left side of the frame after the rabatment area.


Jama Masjid 1


The left side balcony occupies 1/3rd of the image length-wise. The eyes are being well fed here with the grand view of the masjid and the allied market.

William has maintained an impeccable scale across the frame to make sure that nothing is obtrusive to the viewer. The people on the balcony are bigger than on the market at the right side as they are are portrayed to be at a higher altitude.


Few other points worth noticing,

  • The minarets and domes are on the right side rabatment
  • The grandeur of Masjid steps, you might also start thinking about the number of steps painted
  • The size of the humans on the streets can be used to assume the altitude of the left side balcony
  • The artist has carefully chose unobtrusive colors for the doors, windows and handrails on the right hand side
  • The balcony decorations are very captivating on the primary building on the left hand side and on the next building (blue-shade)


The copyright of the image is with © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
P.S. – I would be more than happy to know your views and deconstructions of this painting.

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Navanee Viswa

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