Joseph Edgar Boehm; A pair of bust bronzes of Muhammad Bakhsh Shakh and Munshi Hafiz Abdul Karim tog
Lot 115
Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, Viennese (1834-1890) A pair of bronze busts of Muhammad Bakhsh Shakh and Munshi Hafiz Abdul Karim,
Sold for £9,600 (US$ 16,126) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Sir Joseph Edgar Boehm, Viennese (1834-1890)
A pair of bronze busts of Muhammad Bakhsh Shakh and Munshi Hafiz Abdul Karim,
the bust of Muhammad Bakhsh Shakh, head facing forward, with full beard and moustache, wearing a turban and a buttoned tunic and patka, bearing the order of Queen Victoria medals on the left side of his chest, inscribed to the back MUHAMMAD BAKHSH SHAKH 1889, and signed BOEHM, to the underside of the left shoulder, along with the bust of Munshi Hafiz Abdul Karim, the head turned slightly to sinister, with curly beard and moustache, wearing a turban and a tunic with tassle fastener, bearing the Order of Queen Victoria medals on the left side of his chest, inscribed to the back MUNSHI HAFIZ ABDUL KARIM 1889, and signed BOEHM to the underside of his left shoulder, both busts raised on integral bronze socles, 26cm, 26cm wide, 42, 44cm high (10" wide, 16.5" high)

Footnotes

  • Muhammad Bakhsh Shakh and Hafiz Abdul Karim were brought over from India in 1887 to mark Victoria's Golden Jubilee. They entered her service three days after the celebrations. Not much is known about Muhammad Bakhsh Shakh, and he never rose above the rank of bearer. Hafiz Abdul Karim on the other hand became one of Victoria's most trusted servants and was promoted. He was known as "Munshi", meaning teacher, as he gave Victoria Hindustani and Urdu language lessons. He lived in Karim Cottage at Balmoral, Frogmore Cottage at Windsor and Arthur Cottage at Osborne. His promotion to Indian Secretary caused turmoil amongst Victoria's courtiers. Colonel Bigge and Dr Reid attempted to discredit him by sending reports to the Queen highlighting his low social origins in India. Their attempts to discredit him were in vain. Queen Victoria avidly defended him. She also recognised that their racist attitudes would leave him vulnerable after her death so made provisions for him in her will. After her death Hafiz Abdul Karim was indeed deported to India and lived in Agra on land which Victoria had bought for him and left to him in her will.

    Born in Vienna Boehm was the son of the Hungarian sculptor Joseph Daniel Boehm. He studied under his father before leaving to study in both Paris and Italy. He settled in England in 1862 and acquired many patrons amongst the English nobility and royalty. Queen Victoria admired his work greatly and appointed him Sculptor in Ordinary. Boehm portrayed Queen Victoria and Prince Albert several times. He is also known for his portrait busts of many celebrities amongst them Franz Liszt, Charles Darwin and Benjamin Disraeli.
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