LONDON - Every April, the Orientalist Sale and Arts of the Islamic World sale are exhibited together as part of Orientalist & Islamic Week at Sotheby’s. Held on the 21st and 22nd of April this year, these auctions will showcase important Orientalist paintings of Turkey, North Africa, the Levant, and the Middle East, as well as Islamic and illustrated manuscripts from the eighth to the nineteenth century, and luxurious works of art from countries under Islamic patronage spanning Spain to India, including the Persian and Ottoman courts and the full length of the Silk Road.
Ludwig Deutsch, The Palace Guard. Estimate £800,000–1,200,000.
This year, it is through an astonishing painting by Ludwig Deutsch entitled The Palace Guard, that the incredible synergy between both selling categories comes alive: for it was artists such as he, represented in the Orientalist sale, who were inspired in their paintings by the very artworks created under Islamic patronage over a period of a thousand years. When looking at Deutsch’s The Palace Guard, as an Islamic expert, it is difficult not to become entranced by the objects depicted by the artist in an effort to identify each one of them in minute detail. Upon close examination, it is fascinating to see whom Deutsch borrowed from, and to notice that most of the weapons and accouterments worn by the guard come close to ones we have sold in Arts of the Islamic World over the years. For example, the guard’s helmet, armguard (bazuband) and shield lying at his feet all belong to the Safavid period in Persia (17th/18th century) as indicated by their forms and the gold overlay designs. Similar pieces were sold in Sotheby’s sales in April and October 2008. The guard’s powder flask is most probably one of his most intriguing objects, and can in fact be identified as an Ottoman ray-skin powder flask from 17th century Turkey. A similar object was sold at Sotheby’s in October 2010 for £9,375. The guard’s ivory hilted sword (yataghan), jade-hilted dagger and pistol are all also from the Ottoman period, demonstrating the artist’s attention to verisimilitude.
We invite you to walk through our Bond Street galleries in April and discover these fascinating connections which work together to further our understanding of both the Islamic culture and the Orientalist genre of painting which celebrated it.