This sale of Arts of the Islamic World contains a fine selection of rare objects encompassing the full scope of the Islamic lands. Among the highlights is an extraordinary set of twenty-four preparatory paintings depicting Tipu Sultan's victory over the British at the 1780 Battle of Pollilur in India (lot 60). The paintings were likely to have been produced by an Indian artist after the battle and (among many different scenes) illustrate Tipu and his father Haydar 'Ali splendidly attired on their elephants supported by their army, French mercenaries and the Maratha troops, all advancing towards the British Army. A further outstanding painting is an important oil portrait of a lady by Mirza Baba, one of the foremost painters of the early Qajar period in Persia (lot 94), whilst a rare monumental oil painting of the Persian ruler Muhammad Shah (lot 98) can also be found, executed by the artist Ahmad, of whose works only a handful are known.
Other important pieces included in the sale comprise a very rare 15th century 'ear-dagger', recalling the celebrated history of Islamic Spain under the Nasrid dynasty (lot 250), and a magnificent Crusader sword, once housed in the Mamluk Arsenal at Alexandria (lot 249). Representing the illustrious tradition of Islamic pottery is a striking seated figurine of a man, possibly a mullah, from 12th/13th century Persia (lot 159). Magnificent examples of the Islamic arts of the book include an exceptionally rare 7th-century Qur'an leaf from the Arabian Peninsula, belonging to the earliest group of Qur'an manuscripts, originating from the very first century of Islam (lot 3). From the later Islamic period comes an extremely rare Ottoman gold pocket watch (lot 344) gifted by Sultan Abdülhamid II (r.1876-1909) to the archaeologist, scholar and former British ambassador to Constantinople, Sir Austen Henry Layard (1817-1894). Made by Mehmed Sukri Effendi, one of the leading Turkish clockmakers of the 19th century, it was originally intended for Dr Mehmed Rasim Pasha, one of the founders of the Turkish Medical School, and is extremely fine in terms of quality and craftsmanship. Reflecting the contribution of Islamic civilisation to science, mathematics and astronomy, an 18th-century brass astrolabe from Morocco displaying a particularly elegant throne is also included in the sale (lot 142).