Lot 8
  • 8

A Northern Goshawk, attributed to Mihr Chand, Lucknow or Faizabad, circa 1770, with borders from a royal album made for Shah Jahan, Mughal, circa 1640-58

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
68,750 GBP
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  • gouache on paper
  • painting: 13 by 7.1cm.
    leaf: 36.6 by 25.2cm.


P & D Colnaghi and Co. Ltd., London, 1976.
Ex-collection Maurice and Edmond de Rothschild.


T. Falk, Persian and Mughal Art, P & D Colnaghi and Co. Ltd., London, 1976, pp.199, 211, no.133. 

Catalogue Note

This portrait of a bird of prey, identifiable as a Northern Goshawk due to its distinctive plumage (Accipiter gentilis, see Grimmet, Inskipp and Inskipp 1998, p.171, no.4) was attributed by Falk to the eighteenth-century artist Mihr Chand, principally on the basis of the distinctive landscape style, featuring small rounded trees and bushes on distant hillocks, which was a common feature of Mihr Chand's style (see Falk 1976, p.199). Discussing a work in the India Office Collections of the British Library, Falk and Archer comment "Mihr Chand was apparently the originator of the landscape style which was to become one of the hallmarks of Lucknow painting. He frequently uses a low, level horizon, with numerous little bushes receding towards a bluish distance,..." (Falk and Archer 1981, p.139). He was one of the leading artists of the second half of the eighteenth century and worked at the court of Nawab Shuja' al-Daula of Oudh as well as for Colonel Polier, the Swiss military engineer, patron of the arts and collector, at Lucknow and Faizabad. A number of works by Mihr Chand are in albums in Berlin that were originally in the collection of Col. Polier. Another album that contained many works signed by the artist or in his style was formerly in the Phillipps Collection, sold in these rooms 27 November 1974, lots 723-769. For further information on Mihr Chand see Falk and Archer 1981, p.139, no.248, Leach 1995, vol.II, p.1112.

The exquisite borders originate from an album prepared for Shah Jahan known as the 'Late Shah Jahan Album'. This and other closely related albums have long been admired for their ravishingly fine borders decorated with flowers, birds, floral scrolls or trellises, animals and human figures. The most recent research suggests a date for the execution of the Late Shah Jahan Album of circa 1650-58, right at the end of the emperor's reign (Wright 2008, pp.107-139, 366-411). Two album borders very similar to the present example are in the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin (see Wright 2008, nos.65, 69B, pp.395, 408). Here the borders have been re-used at a later date to  provide a fitting frame for the bird of prey.