The sale was led by an outstanding Deccani painting of A Prince Holding a Falcon and Galloping through a Rocky Landscape, from 1680-1700, which achieved a price of £329,000, five times the pre-sale low estimate. This was followed by another impressive work from the Deccan, An assembly of Hindu gods, ascetics and worshippers, Hyderabad or Bidar, early 18th century, which sold for £203,000. The auction realised over £4.5m in total, against an original estimate of £1.9m, selling over 90% of the lots on offer. Buyers came from the USA, Europe, Middle East, India and East Asia, comprising collectors, institutions and new bidders.
The Sven Gahlin Collection comprises 157 lots, predominantly Indian miniature painting ranging from the 16th to the 19th centuries from the Mughal, Deccani, Rajput and Pahari courts, as well as Company School painting from the period of the British Raj. The collection is to be sold in Sotheby’s London on 6 October 2015 as part of ‘Indian and Islamic Week’, and also includes a number of objects including carved ivories, lacquer objects and daggers.
Many of the paintings are signed by or attributed to royal court artists, commissioned by the elite of the age, representing scenes of the refinement, power and privilege of courtly life. The collector Sven Gahlin is known for his connoisseurship and has been actively collecting since the 1960s; the majority of this artwork has not been seen on the market in decades. The top works are remarkable for their distinguished provenance, exhibition and publication history, resulting in a range of tantalising opportunities for the private collector and institution alike.