London auctions. Spectacular collection of Indian miniatures to be offered at Bonhams

London auctions. Following two market-leading auctions of Islamic and Indian Art in April and October 2015, Bonhams announces its auction of Islamic and Indian Art in London on 19 April 2016.  The 315-lot sale features exceptional items in several categories including glassware and ceramics, calligraphy and illustration, carving, bronze, carpets, miniatures and textiles.

Key highlights of the sale include 50 miniatures encapsulating a broad range of Indian painting from 17th to 19th century. The miniatures are part of the celebrated collection of Indian art belonging to New Yorkers, Evelyn and Peter Kraus.

The miniatures depict traditional scenes from India, painted in vibrant gouache and lavishly accented with gold leaf. One of the highlights of this collection is Maharaja Man Singh Celebrating the festival of Holi, estimated at £20,000-30,000, a celebratory portrayal of the ancient Hindu ritual that takes place annually in India, The painting, from the Jodhpur school, is characterised by the use of bright, glowing pigments, but this particular painting also employs a dynamic and frenzied composition to represent the joyous carnival in celebration of the arrival of spring.

Another notable work is A Sikh Ruler and Several Noblemen Entertained by Musicians and Dancers on a Palace Terrace, estimated at £10,000-15,000. The works, from the tradition of Kangra painting, illustrates a precise yet lyrical narrative of 19th century India in lustrous colours.

Agra Fort, from the East, attributed to Sita Ram and painted circa 1815, estimated at £15,000-20,000, has a more muted colour scheme and shows a view of the red sandstone walls of the eastern gate of the Fort, with people and camels milling around in the foreground.

The collection also includes a group of 15 Company School studies of animals and plants, mostly painted in Calcutta in the early 19th century. Company painting developed as a result of Indian artists working in the manner of British artists for European and Indian patrons in the 18th and 19th centuries. Their eye for striking detail rendered in watercolours make the works charming additions to the collection. The studies will be individually sold, with the estimated total value at £34,000-48,000.

“These paintings show the incredible range of Indian painting across the centuries, from Mughal works and South Indian depictions of acrobats to scenes from the vibrant world of Hindu mythology,” said Rukmani Kumari Rathore, a specialist in Indian and Islamic Art at Bonhams, “They also represent a spectacular age in the tradition of miniature painting. Their diversity in style and aesthetic shows how Indian artists were developing their technique over the centuries.”

Other notable lots include a Rare Timurid Carved Marble Panel, from Central Asia, mid-15th century, estimated at £80,000-120,000; a Rare Album of Calligraphic Exercises (Mufradat), by the Famous Scribe Yaqut Al-Musta’simi, from late-13th century Baghdad is estimated at £100,000-200,000; a Fine Silk Heriz Carpet from late 19th century Persia (291cm x 216cm; est. £40,000-60,000); and a 19th century Ottoman Red Silk Military Banner, estimated at £30,000-40,000.

The auction also includes A Rare Openwork Bronze Incense Burner from Spain (10th – 12th century) estimated at £50,000-70,000; A Fine Kashan Silhouette-Ware Pottery Vase, made in Persia in the late 12th  century; A Fatamid Lustre Pottery Vase, from 11th century Egypt; An Illuminated Koran, including the Falnama from Timurid or Safavid Persia (15th or 16th century); and an unusual painting of Two Cranes Standing in a Pool, circa 1370 – 1380 from either Mesopotamia or Tabriz.

In April 2015, Bonhams secured nearly 50% of the market share during Indian and Islamic auction week when its sale containing weapons from the armory of Tipu Sultan, made more than £7.4 million. In October 2015, Bonhams offered an exceptionally rare Mother of Pearl inlaid tray produced in Gujarat in the late 16th or early 17th century which sold for £962,500, the highest selling lot of the week.