J. A. Lalkaka

Other names: 

Jehangir Ardeshir Lalkaka


Westminster School of Art SW1P 3QH
United Kingdom
51° 29' 33.3564" N, 0° 7' 50.0484" W
St John's Wood Art School NW8 9JT
United Kingdom
51° 31' 55.0524" N, 0° 10' 40.2708" W
Date of birth: 
01 Jan 1884
Precise DOB unknown: 
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
24 May 1967
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1908
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1908-13, 1929-31


J. A. Lalkaka began his artistic training at the J. J. School of Art in Bombay (Mumbai) in 1903. In 1908, he arrived in London after being sent to Europe by his grandfather Sir Navroji Vakil to complete his artistic education. Lalkaka attended the St John’s Wood and Westminster Art Schools, both seen as preparatory institutions to gain admittance to the Royal Academy Schools. He also spent some time in Paris. In 1913, Lalkaka returned to India and set up his own studio in Bombay. He painted mainly portraits which were popular with the governing elite. Lalkaka’s work was supported by Viceroys Irwin and Willingdon in particular.

In 1929, it was decided that the Viceroy’s Palace (now the Rashrapati Bhavan) in New Delhi should be decorated with paintings and an exhibition was held of 1,500 works of art by 200 artists. Edwin Lutyens, the architect, in consultation with the Viceroy chose Lalkaka from this exhibition, along with Atul Bose, to travel to England to paint royal portraits. Lalkaka’s portrait of George V was particularly prized. He returned to India in 1931 and was honoured by a reception given by the Art Society of India. He was closely associated with the J.J. School of Art and became the first Indian to be appointed its Vice-President in 1931. His work can now be found in galleries in Delhi and Mumbai.


‘Exhibitions of Indian Art in London and Delhi’, Modern Review, July 1931, pp. 60-7

Secondary works: 

Mitter, Partha, The Triumph of Modernism: India's Artists and the Avant-garde 1922-1947 (London: Reaktion, 2007)