31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed)
Lot 352
A series of 31 paintings by Ghulam 'Ali Khan (fl. 1817-55), consisting of views of monuments in and around Delhi, and including four portraits of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II (reg. 1837-58) and his sons, in its original leather-covered presentation box Delhi, circa 1852-1854, three paintings dated November 1852(32)
Sold for £37,250 (US$ 59,706) inc. premium

Lot Details
31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed) 31 Indian miniature paintins - portraits, topographical etc, in original leather covered box incribed DEHLEE 1854 (Value to be confirmed)
A series of 31 paintings by Ghulam 'Ali Khan (fl. 1817-55), consisting of views of monuments in and around Delhi, and including four portraits of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II (reg. 1837-58) and his sons, in its original leather-covered presentation box
Delhi, circa 1852-1854, three paintings dated November 1852
watercolour and gold on paper, black margin rules, three title pages, three sheets of portraits, all with identifying inscriptions in English and in Persian in nasta'liq script in black ink, the portraits with further inscriptions in nasta'liq script with the date November 1852 (Christian date written in Arabic), in later mounts, loose in contemporary green leather-covered despatch box, the lid embossed in gold DELHEE 1854
paintings 290 x 215 mm. and slightly smaller; mounts 318 x 394 mm.; box 435 x 365 x 110 mm.(32)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private UK collection.

    The paintings comprise (listing the English inscriptions in italics, followed by a translation or paraphrase of the Persian):

    1. [Title page] English: Sketches of The Delhee Palace &c., Delhee, 1854
    Persian: An album of drawings for presentation [without mentioning any name] including the citadel of Shah Jahan Abad and other monuments in Delhi, Agra and others.
    2. Signet of the King of Delhee Aboo Zufr Siraj ood Deen Mohumud Bahadoor Shah Badshah Ghazee. 1st Year of his Reign [with his descendants listed]
    The illuminated seal impression of Siraj al-Din Muhammad Bahadur Shah dated first regnal year, AH 1254/AD 1838.
    3. A stylised calligraphic composition surmounted by an English-style insignia with the name Locksicker. The roundel gives the name of Captain Douglas. This is apparently Sir Thomas Monteath Douglas (1787-1868). He entered the East India Company's Bengal Army in 1806; served in many campaigns between 1809 and 1826; Lt-Colonel in 1834; ADC to Queen Victoria; left India about 1845; added the name of Douglas to his own in 1851; KCB and General in 1865. (C. F. Buckland, Dictionary of Indian Biography, New York 1968, p. 122). The emblem of a boar before an oak tree is apparently that of Sir Edward Robert Pearce Edgecombe (1851-1929).???
    4. Two portraits: Mirza Mahomed Juwan Bakht Bahadoor, 3d son; Mirza Zuheer ood deen, alias Mirza Mooghul Bahadur, 2nd Son.; Mirza Muhammad Zahir al-Islam known as Mirza Mughul Bahador [on the right] and Mirza Muhammad Javan Bakht Bahadur [on the left], both signed by Ghulam 'Ali Khan, dated November 1852.
    5. Mirza Mahomed Sooltan Sutteh ood Moolk Shah, the Heir Apparent.; signed by Ghulam 'Ali Khan, dated November 1852.
    6. Aboo Zuffer Siraj ood deen Mahomed Bahadoor Shah, Emperor of Delhee.
    7. The Throne in the Dewan Am.; the throne inside the Shah Jahan Abad Citadel.
    8. Wall behind the King's Seat in Dewan Am.; the inner wall of the throne in the divan of Shah Jahan Abad citadel with depiction of animals.
    9. The Dewan Am - and the Buildings occupied by the Heir Apparent.; the divan-e 'am (Hall of Public Audience), with the throne and buildings of the Crown Prince inside the Shah Jahan Abad citadel.
    10. The Commandant's quarters over the Lahore Gate of the Palace.; the Lahori of Shah Jahan Abad citadel from inside, where the Citadel-Holder resides.
    11. The interior of the Dewan Khas - and the Tusbee Khana.; the interior of the divan-e khass (Hall of Private Audience) of Shah Jahan Abad citadel and the tasbih-khana.
    12. Mausoleum of Sufdur Jung - 3 Kofs from Delhee on the Kootub Road.; Tomb of Safdar Jang on Qutub road.
    13. Two views: The warm or inner room of the Bath; the cold or outer room of the Bath.; the hot room of the bath in the Shah Jahan Abad citadel; the cold room of the bath in the Shah Jahan Abad citadel.
    14. The Chhutta within the Lahore Gate of the Palace.; the chhutta within the mentioned Gate [i.e. Lahore Gate] of the citadel in the Shah Jahan Abad citadel.
    15. The Hoomayoon Mausoleum near Delhee.; Humayun Mausoleum from Arab Sara side.
    16. The Lahore Gate of the Palace and that leading to the Square before it.; the Lahore Gate of Shah Jahan Abad citadel and ... [Hindi-based words indecipherable]
    17. South view of the Juma Masjid at Delhee (this painting en grisaille); view of Shah Jahan Abad mosque from Bhari side.
    18. The Reception Room in the Dewan Khas.; the reception room at the divan-e khass [Hall of Private Audience] of Shah Jahan Abad citadel.
    19. The Peacock Throne in the Dewan Khas.; the Peacock Throne inside the divan-e khass of Shah Jahan Abad citadel.
    20. Front view of the Juma Masjid at Delhee, within the enclosure.; the Jami' Mosque of Shah Jahan Abad opposite the Great Gate.
    21. View of the Palace Buildings of the Shah Boorj, Summer Boorj, and Ussud Boorj from the Eastern or river face.; the view of the Citadel with the Shah Buruj, the Saman Buruj and Asad Buruj from the river.
    22. Mausoleum of Hauziut Sooltan Nizam ood Deen, near Delhee.; tomb of Nizam al-Din together with Babur's tomb.
    23. Masjid Roshun ood Daulah near the Kotuabe at Delhee.; the mosque of Rawshan al-Dawla near Kutwali in Shah Jahan Abad.
    24. Masjid Koo-ut ood Islam - from Pillar and Arches built by Rao Pithawarah; Quwwat al-Islam Mosque with four minarets built by Raja Pithurah and its court.
    25. The Susbeen Khana near the Dewan Khas.; the tasbih khana in the divan-e khass of the Shah Jahan Abad citadel.
    26. The Zuffer Muhul.; the newly built Zafar Mahal inside the citadel of Shah Jahan Abad.
    27. Interior of the Rung Muhul.; the interior of Rang Mahal inside the citadel of Shah Jahan Abad.
    28. The Rung Muhul.; the Rang Mahal inside the citadel of Shah Jahan Abad.
    29. Sawun, or Summer House.; the Sawun inside the citadel of Shah Jahan Abad.
    30. The Kootub Minar - 11 miles South of Delhee.; the minaret of Khwaja Qutb al-Din (Qutub Minar) together with the tomb of Adham and the Qutub Gate.
    31. The Motee Masjid.; the Muti Mosque inside the citadel of Shah Jahan Abad.

    Ghulam 'Ali Khan was one of the foremost painters in Delhi in the first half of the 19th Century, and was employed by the royal households of both Akbar II (reg. 1806-37) and Bahadur Shah II. His oeuvre encompassed portraits and topographical views, as well as paintings which in sense combine the two, such as the painting depicting the durbar of Colonel James Skinner. He also ranged further afield, working for more than ten years at the courts of Jhajjar and the Alwar court of Raja Baani Singh. He was closely associated too with East India Company figures, notably William Fraser and James Skinner. After portraits of the penultimate Mughal Emperor, Akbar II, Ghulam 'Ali Khan was commissioned to paint the important accession portrait of Bahadur Shah II enthroned (versions of which are in the Smithsonian, Washington DC, and in the Nasser D. Khalili collection, London).

    The paintings in the present lot date from late in Ghulam 'Ali Khan's career, and apparently his life, and the group is dominated by topographical works, some of little-seen subjects, and unusual viewpoints. (e.g. the Chhutta with the Lahore Gate; the Masjid Roshun ood Daulah; the Zuffar Mahal; the Mausoleum of Hauziut Sooltan; and the view of the Jami Masjid en grisaille). The popularity of such views can be attributed both to an Indian desire to portray the seats of Mughal power (however much this was in reality on its last legs), and to a British and European antiquarian interest in these sites (see Y. Sharma, p. 42). The date of 1854 also puts the group of paintings poignantly close to the Mutiny, the consequent sack of Delhi, and the downfall of the Mughal Empire with the exile and death of Bahadur Shah II.

    For Ghulam 'Ali Khan, see:
    L. Y. Leach, Paintings from India, Nasser D. Khalili Collection, London 1998, pp. 161-163.
    Y. Sharma, 'In the Company of the Mughal Court: Delhi Painter Ghulam 'Ali Khan', in W. Dalrymple, Y. Sharma (edd.), Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi 1707-1857, New Haven 2012, pp. 41-51.
    J. P. Losty, M. Roy, Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire, London 2012, pp. 217-220.
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