Manuk: A rare Rajput art collector from Patna

Manuk was an Armenian by descent,  born in India, studied in England, and practised as a barrister at the Calcutta High Court. He also had an unusual name, the middle part of it with a vaguely Indian sound: Percival Chutter Manuk. No one knows where he picked up the taste for Indian painting, especially at a time when very little work on it had been done.

What is surprising about all this is the almost entirely accurate identification of so many themes or subject matters: information which Manuk seems to have picked up, with great alertness, from some pandit or well-informed dealer.

Gamely, however, he seems to have gone on amassing works in the years that followed, almost till his own death in 1946. Collecting for this barrister had become an addiction, which he infected others .

We have thus in P.C. Manuk a phenomenon: a person who seems entirely to have taught himself as far as taste is concerned, and who, oddly for an Armenian, developed a special fondness for Hindu mythological subjects and, as a corollary, for Rajput paintings, then barely known.

Read full report in The Tribune


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