View full screen - View 1 of Lot 19. An elevation of the north side of the marble screen surrounding the cenotaphs in the Taj Mahal, Company School, Agra, circa 1810-20.
19

An elevation of the north side of the marble screen surrounding the cenotaphs in the Taj Mahal, Company School, Agra, circa 1810-20

VAT reduced rate

Estimate:

15,000 - 25,000 GBP

An elevation of the north side of the marble screen surrounding the cenotaphs in the Taj Mahal, Company School, Agra, circa 1810-20

An elevation of the north side of the marble screen surrounding the cenotaphs in the Taj Mahal, Company School, Agra, circa 1810-20

Estimate:

15,000 - 25,000 GBP

watercolour and bodycolour on paper


57.5 by 75.5 cm. (22 ⅝ by 29 ¾ in.)

To request a Condition Report, please contact islamica@sothebys.com.


"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

George McFadden, New York 
This view is of the north façade of the octagonal marble screen which surrounds the cenotaphs of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Mumtaz Mahal in the central chamber of the Taj Mahal. A similar façade is on the south side of the screen with the central section higher than the flanking panels. The south façade has an arched doorway in the centre, lacking a jali panel, which is the only entrance into this inner sanctum of the Taj Mahal. Each of the other six sides comprises three carved marble jalis of similar height with marble columns and finials, with a pierced frieze of vases above all the jali panels and the entrance. As illustrated in the present lot, the panels have a pierced design of floral ornament, and the marble is inlaid with semi-precious stones in the form of flowering plants within cusped cartouches and scrolling floral vines. The dark background used by the artist of the present work focuses the viewer’s eye on the delicate openwork floral marble carving of the jalis. The existing marble screen was placed here in 1643, replacing an earlier screen made of pure gold and inlaid with precious jewels.

For an illustration of the south façade of the screen with the entrance portal, painted by an Agra artist and dated to circa 1815-20, see Galloway 2016, no.9. Another view of the south façade is in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Hurel 2010, no.285-3 (f.3), p.223). Views of the cenotaph chamber and the marble screen enclosing the two cenotaphs are illustrated in Pal 1989, no.52; Archer 1992, 122 (11), illus. p.143; Bautze 1998, no.54, pp.214-6. Studies of the flowering plants within cartouches on the marble pillars of the screen were prepared by the Agra artist Shaykh Latif around 1820 for the English artist Robert Home, who was a court artist for the Nawab of Awadh from 1814 to 1827 (Pal 1989, no.53, 54).

For a study of the top of Shah Jahan's cenotaph in the present sale, see lot 21.