The Art of Imperial India sale was led by a magnificent diamond-set and enamelled gold parade necklace (Khanti), North India, circa 1850-75 which sold for £236,500, affirming the taste for exquisite craftsmanship of Indian jewellery from the nineteenth century. With bidding from private collectors and institutions from over four continents, the sale achieved a total of £1,757,476. The sale reflected a broad array of tastes, with buyers bidding on a wide number of decorative pieces and painting from the Mughal and Rajput courts, as well as the Sven Gahlin Collection of Photographs of India. Comprising more than two thousand photographs of India, Burma, Ceylon and South Asia, it achieved a total of over £160,000.
We are delighted to announce the launch of ‘India and Islamic Week’ at Sotheby’s London featuring three sales: Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art, Art of Imperial India, and Arts of the Islamic World. From 3 to 7 October the entire London premises will be devoted to Indian and Islamic art. During this time we will be running a dedicated Indian Afternoon Tea in association with Newby teas at our Café.
Held alongside Arts of the Islamic World is our second sale of Art of Imperial India, focusing on fine paintings, jewellery, photographs and works of art from the Mughal and Rajput courts as well as the period of the British Raj.
A striking and large image capturing two women at their toilette exemplifies 18th-century Jaipur painting, with its graceful drawing and bold palette. Representing the Mughal taste for grandiose jewellery is an elegant diamond-set parade necklace (khanti) with delicate enamelled decoration on its reverse, attributed to circa 1850-75. Another work formerly in the collection of the Dukes of Northumberland is a manuscript on the romance of Jahandar Sultan and Bahravar Banu (the Bahar-i-Danish) with 118 fully-coloured miniatures, including 22 double-page scenes illustrating the scope of Mughal book production in late-17th- and early-18th-century India.
A highlight of this year’s sale is ‘Photographs of Imperial India: the Sven Gahlin Collection’; a magnificent group of 31 albums containing over 2,000 photographs of India, Ceylon, Burma and Southeast Asia, dating from the 1850s to the early 20th century. Notable provenances include albums from the Curzon family, the Prinsep family, and 6th Baron Suffield, who was aide-de-camp to three Viceroys of India.