A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century
Lot 20*
A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782
North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century
Sold for £100,900 (US$ 164,878) inc. premium

Lot Details
A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782 North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century
A rare copy of Abu'l Fazl bin Mubarak's Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, Books I, II and III, lavishly illustrated with sixty-five miniatures, and very probably once in the collection of Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company Resident at Lucknow, 1776-1782
North India, probably Murshidabad, late 18th Century
Persian manuscript on cream-coloured paper, 508 leaves, complete, remargined, 27-28 lines to the page, each book (kitab) copied by a different scribe, text written in nasta'liq script in black ink, extensive headings describing in detail the subject of the following miniature picked out in red, inner margins ruled in colours and gold, catchwords in wide outer margins, 3 finely illuminated headpieces in colours and gold marking the beginning of each of the three books, 65 miniatures painted by at least 4 artists, 5 blanks with titles in red intended for miniatures on folios 244v, 246v, 249r, 254v and 416r, waterstaining and dampstaining mostly restricted to the outer margins and towards the end of the manuscript otherwise in good condition, later European–style red morocco gilt, slight worming, spine worn, short tear at top of spine
folio 476 x 309 mm.

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private US collection since 1929;
    With Poohoomull Bros., dealers ('Shippers of Certain Artistic Antiquities'), Bombay: acquired by them at auction in India in October 1920, until October 1929 (according to a typewritten declaration with the manuscript).
    Almost certainly Nathaniel Middleton (1750-1807), East India Company, Civil Officer to the Court of Oudh (1773-75), Resident at Lucknow (1776-82); stamp impression on f. 6r (miniature no. 1), an insignia consisting of a monogram including the letters N and M, and the motto in English My Hope is in God.

    Author:
    Shaykh Abul-Fazl, surnamed 'Allami, was the son of Shaykh Mubarak of Nagur. He was born in Agra in 1551 and was introduced to the Emperor Akbar in 1573 by his elder brother the celebrated poet Faizi, and soon became his friend, trusted adviser and chronicler of Akbar's reign. According to Charles Rieu, 'He rose by degrees to a command of four thousand men, and was engaged in military operations in the Deccan, when he was recalled to the Court, and murdered on his way thither in AH 1011/ AD 1602 by the Bundela chieftain, Barsing Deo, instigated by Prince Salim, afterwards Jahangir. The author has given a sketch of his own life at the end of Book III'. This episode of the life of Abu'l-Fazl is illustrated in the present manuscript: see miniatures nos. 62 & 63 on folios 485v and 493v respectively.

    Text:
    The Akbarnama, the Book of Akbar, is the official chronicle of the third Mughal Emperor Akbar (reg. 1556–1605). The manuscript was commissioned by Akbar from his court historian Abu'l Fazl and according to Linda Leach, 'includes a vivid and detailed account of his life and times. The author wrote the work between 1590 and 1596 and it is thought to have been illustrated between 1592 and 1594 by at least forty-nine artists from Akbar's atelier'. Leach adds, 'it was probably Abu'l–Fazl who also initiated the idea of the Akbarnama and put himself forward as its author, in the biography he mentions his own distaste for the continual repetition of old literary fantasies over contemporary history'.

    According to Rieu, 'The author states in the preface that his material consisted of the private memoirs which numerous persons were ordered to send in, of the official records which had been kept from the 19th year of the reign, the royal proclamations, and the letters and returns of the officers of state. The work was submitted during its progress to Akbar, who corrected and supplemented it from his personal recollections'. The Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Library/Chester Beatty Library manuscript (circa 1603–05) are the only two surviving illustrated copies of the work which are contemporary with Akbar's life.

    Contents:
    The Akbarnama is divided into three Books (kitab):
    Book I: The Birth and horoscope of Akbar (see miniatures nos. 3 & 5 on folios 12v and 16r in this manuscript); The Genealogy of the House of Timur and the history of Babur and Humayun which are intended to emphasize the legitimacy of Akbar's rule; History of Akbar from his accession to the end of the 17th year of his reign.
    Book II: Continuation of Akbar's reign to the end of his 46th year. Abu'l Fazl details the gradual independence of Akbar from his general and tutor, Bairam Khan, who had shepherded the young sovereign through the early years of his reign but had become too assertive (see miniatures nos. 10, 12 & 23 on folios 60v, 76v and 166r in this manuscript).
    Book III: Entitled A'in Akbari, The Institutes of Akbar, contains a detailed account of the royal establishments, the administration and statistics of the empire, the creeds and institutions of the Hindus.

    Nathaniel Middleton:
    Middleton arrived in India shortly before 1769 and, after service at Cossimbazar and Murshidabad, was appointed in 1773 by the Governor-General, Warren Hastings, as his representative at the court of Shuja-ud-Daulah, Nawab of Oudh. Asaf-ud-Daula had succeeded to the throne in 1775: in 1777 Middleton, now Resident, persuaded him to accept Hastings' plan to make over the Nawab's troops to Company service, thus in effect allowing the British occupation of Oudh. His deputy as Resident at Lucknow was Richard Johnson (1753-1807), who formed what became the Johnson Album, later the cornerstone of the India Office Library collection. Middleton himself was an avid collector of Persian manuscripts, Indian paintings and natural history drawings by Indian artists. A portrait by Tilly Kettle of 1773 depicts him seated with an illustrated manuscript (see M. Archer, India and British Portraiture 1770-1825, London 1979, p. 87, pl. 41). He returned to England in 1784 and was a key witness in the impeachment trial of Warren Hastings, where he became known as 'Memory Middleton' due to his deliberate inability to recall anything to Hastings' disadvantage. On Middleton, see Archer, op. cit., p. 87, pp. 94-95, and pl. 52; and T. Falk & M. Archer, Indian Miniatures in the India Office Library, London 1981, pp. 17 and 135.

    Bibliography:
    C. Rieu, Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts in the British Museum, London, repr. 1966, part I, pp. 247–249;
    N. M. Titley, Miniatures from Persian Manuscripts: Catalogue and Subject Index of Paintings from Persia, India and Turkey in the British Library and British Museum, London 1977, pp. 2 -5;
    L. Y. Leach, Mughal and Other Indian Paintings from the Chester Beatty Library, London 1995, vol. I, pp. 232–294;
    S. Stronge, Made for Mughal Emperors: Royal Treasures from Hindustan, London & New York 2010.


    The subjects of the miniatures are as follows (all the miniatures and headpieces are illustrated online):

    1. f. 6r: Humayun receiving a deputation, a prince asleep in the background.
    2. f. 10v: Humayun giving an audience on a terrace
    3. f. 12r: Humayun consulting astrologers on a terrace
    4. f. 15r: Humayun dictating a letter on a terrace
    5. f. 16r: The birth of Akbar.
    6. f. 31r: Battle between with armies of Kandahar and Samarqand.
    7. f. 37v: A battle scene near Agra.
    8. f. 46r: Humayun's army besieging Champaner Fort.
    9. f. 55v: Battle scene.
    10. f. 60v: Bairam Khan bringing Tardi Beg Khan treacherously to his tent in order to have him murdered.
    11. f. 70r: Humayun entertained by Muhammad Khan in Herat.
    12. f. 76v: Bairam Khan's wife asking the Emperor to pardon her husband.
    13. f. 77r: The Emperor receiving an embassy.
    14. f. 85r: Mirza Kamran aided by Abdul-Rahman Qassab captures the fortress of Kabul.
    15. f. 93r: Akbar arriving at the gates of Kabul.
    16. f. 100r: Mirza Kamran in battle in Afghanistan.
    17. f. 109r: The Afghans fighting at the fortress of Kabul.
    18. f. 126r: The captive Abu al-Ma'ali bought into the presence of Akbar.
    19. f. 134v: Akbar watches a firework display.
    20. f. 140v: Iskandar Abdul-Rahman presents Akbar with the elephant's chain.
    21. f. 152v: The procession of Akbar from Akbarabad to Shahjahanabad.
    22. f. 160v: A battle scene near Lahore.
    23. f. 166r: Mubarak Khan Lohani and other Afghans killing Biaram Khan in Pattan (1560).
    24. f. 171r: Akbar slaying a tiger near Malwa.
    25. f. 179r: Akbar on his elephant surveys the burning of the city of Indore and the massacre of its inhabitants.
    26. f. 190v: Akbar meets Khawaja Mu'in al-Din at Agra.
    27. f. 193v: Akbar injured in a battle near Delhi.
    28. f. 202v: An elderly mother hands a petition to Akbar complaining that Muhammad Husain Qurabighi Abdullah Khan has abducted her daughter.
    29. f. 210r: Akbar hunting elephants.
    30. f. 222r: The return of Akbar to Lahore from his campaigns.
    31. f. 259v: Akbar and his army attacking a fort during his battle with Ibrahim Husain Mirza.
    32. f. 268r: The battle between the armies of Akbar and Muhammad Husain Mirza and the fate of Qutb-ad-Din Khan, Sayyid Chand Bukhari and Naurang Khan.
    33. f. 275r: Akbar receiving Raja Tudah Mal and appointing the governors of Gujarat.
    34. f. 283v. Akbar and his commanders on elephants crossing a river, preceded by two boats on his way to Gujarat.
    35. f. 292r: Battle between Raja Tudah Mal and the Vizier Khan.
    36. f. 299r: Battle between Muzzafar Khan and Taj-i Khan
    37. f. 307r: The return of the army led by Shahbaz Khan after capturing the fort of Savanah near Ajmer, and subsequently being received in audience by the Emperor.
    38. f. 313r: Prince Daniyal giving an audience.
    39. f. 314v: Battle between Muzzafar Khan and Raja Tudah Mal.
    40. f. 319v: A fierce battle raging near the castle of Karhara.
    41. f. 327v: An enthroned Akbar giving an audience to the learned men of the realm.
    42. f. 336r: Nizam ad-Din Sardari Qutb-ad-Din Khan leaving Gujarat for Hijaz by a European (Farang) ship to perform the Hajj.
    43. f. 344v: Akbar receiving Muhib 'Ali Khan, Shahim Khan and Samanji Khan in Bihar.
    44. f. 351v: Battle scene with Mohan Das and Sur Das.
    45. f. 359r: Akbar enthroned on a terrace surrounded by courtiers.
    46. f. 368v: Akbar enthroned.
    47. f. 375v: Battle between Ma'sum Khan Farankhudi and Firuz Khan in Bihar
    48. f. 382r: The Emperor riding on a white elephant leads his troops into battle at Fatehpur Sikri near Agra.
    49. f. 390r: Prince Salim receiving Shah Rukh Mirza.
    50. f. 400v: Yusuf Khan and his army march towards Kashmir
    51. f. 406r: Akbar giving an audience on his way to Kashmir.
    52. f. 414r: Akbar being weighed in gold in a public ceremony.
    53. f. 418r: Akbar celebrating at court.
    54. f. 425r: Akbar inspecting the building of a city from a barge on the Chenab.
    55. f. 430v: Khawaja Hasan, Sanjar Mirza and other nobles visit a walled garden.
    56. f. 437r: Jamal-ad-Din Khan leading his army into battle at Ahmadnagar.
    57. f. 445v: A murder scene at a fort.
    58. f. 455r: Accession of Sultan Muhammad to the throne of Rum (Greece)
    59. f. 462v: Prince Murad prepares to leave for the Deccan to meet Raja 'Ali Khan Marziban
    60. f. 469v: Sultan Murad being weighed in gold in a public ceremony.
    61. f. 478v: Mirza 'Ali Akbar Shahi besieged at the fort of Daulatabad in the Deccan.
    62. f. 485v: The author Abul-Fazl visiting the Deccan.
    63. f. 493v: A skirmish between the soldiers of Abu'l Fazl and the Raja's army in Daulatabad.
    64. f. 503r: Prince Daniyal leading the wedding procession of his son from Burhanpur to Bijapur.
    65. f. 508r: The funeral of Akbar.
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