Three portraits of consorts of Mughal Emperors: Shankar Begum, of the harem of Akbar II; Aktar Mahal, Persian wife of Akbar; Asafar Mahal, wife of Akbar Delhi, circa 1840-50
Lot 190Y
Three portraits of consorts of the Mughal Emperor Akbar II (reg. 1806-37): Shankar Begum, of the harem; Akhtar Mahal, his Persian wife; Asafar Mahal Delhi, by the artists Mahmud Faizul and his pupil, Asmuddin, circa 1900, after originals of 1840-50
Sold for £3,250 (US$ 5,330) inc. premium

Lot Details
Three portraits of consorts of the Mughal Emperor Akbar II (reg. 1806-37): Shankar Begum, of the harem; Akhtar Mahal, his Persian wife; Asafar Mahal
Delhi, by the artists Mahmud Faizul and his pupil, Asmuddin, circa 1900, after originals of 1840-50
gouache on ivory, one oval and two rectangular, handwritten English captions, circa 1900, pasted on the mount and on the backboard, framed as one
101 x 84 mm.; 98 x 76 mm.; 80 x 63 mm.; frame overall 258 x 403 mm.

Footnotes

  • The captions read:
    Front of mount:
    1. Portrait of Shankar Begum, of the harem of Akbar II, painted by Mahmud Azim, original picture painted by his father Sultan Ahmed Khan.
    2. Portrait of Aktar Mahal, Persian wife of Akbar, Painted by Mahmud Faizul, artist, Delhi, about 1825
    3. Portrait of Asafar Mahal, wife of Akbar, from original by Mahmud Faizul, by his pupil Asmuddin.


    Backboard:
    1. Original picture by Muhammad Azim, artist who died about 1830. Picture of Shankar Begum of the Harem of Akbar II. [...] sold and presented [?] by Sultan Ahmed Khan, son of Mahmud Ismail [?] Khan and grandson of Mahmud Azim. 25 Jan 1900. In nasta'liq script: Sultan Ahmad Khan son of Mahmud Isma'il [?] Khan in his own hand.
    2. Painted by Mahmud Faizul, portrait of Persian wife of Akbar, Akhtar Mahal.
    3. Picture of Asafar Mahal, copy of original, copied by Asmuddin pupil of Mahmud Faizul, son of Mahmud Azim, who died about 1850. Sold and presented [?] by Sultan Ahmed Khan, son of Mahmud Ismail [?] Khan and grandson of Mahmud Azim. 25 Jan 1900. In nasta'liq script: Sultan Ahmad Khan son of Mahmud Isma'il [?] Khan in his own hand.

    Emily Eden, writing in 1839, had commented on the skill of Delhi artists, including Azim, who is perhaps the grandfather of the artists of these paintings:
    I had two Delhi miniature painters here, translating two of my sketches on to ivory and I never saw anything so perfect as their copy of Runjeet Singh. Azim, the best painter, is almost a genius except that he knows no perspective, so he can only copy [...] Their miniatures are so soft and beautiful. (Up The Country, quoted in M. Archer, Company Paintings: Indian Paintings of the British Period, London 1992, p. 217).
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