The Arts of the Islamic World sale achieved a total of £6,586,100, with four works selling in excess of £600,000. The success of this sale was underpinned by a core group of exceptional lots, some of which were being offered at auction for the first time. Strong bidding competition resulted in almost £1 million achieved for the original copy of Edward Lane’s landmark Arabic-English Lexicon, from the collection of the Duke of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle, from a pre-sale estimate of £200,000 – 300,000. The same amount was achieved for a brass astrolabe made by Al-Ahmar Al-Nujumi Al-Rumi for the treasury of the Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II, a record for any Islamic scientific instrument at auction. These results are testament to the enduring appeal of works of outstanding provenance and importance. We are delighted to have presented these artworks as part of the inaugural Indian and Islamic week, putting Sotheby’s at the heart of cultural exchange across the Middle East, South Asia and beyond.
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.
Bringing together manuscripts, paintings and works of art created under Islamic patronage over eleven centuries, Arts of the Islamic World provides an opportunity for collectors and institutions to acquire beautiful and sought-after pieces.
Among the highlights is an extremely well-preserved leaf from a 16th-century copy of Sa’di’s Gulistan, attributed to the famed courtly artist Mahmud Muzahhib. This rare discovery was formerly in the collection of the Dukes of Northumberland at Alnwick castle and has never before been offered at auction. Also coming from the same collection is the unparalled Arabic-English Lexicon of Edward William Lane, the famed 19th-century Orientalist and Egyptologist. Representing thirty-four years’ work, offered for sale is the final printer’s copy in Lane’s own hand, bound in forty volumes, accompanied by a set of ten extremely rare Arabic manuscripts.
An exquisite silver and gilt-copper casket from 14th-century Nasrid Spain is a further rare discovery, with a characteristic geometric design that can be traced throughout many media. From further east come a spectacular Ottoman jade and gem-set sabre and belt-buckle, an oil portrait of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent by a follower of Bellini, and three monumental lustre calligraphic tiles from Kashan, demonstrating the impressive architectural designs of thirteenth century Persia.