Sikh Art Watch – Bonhams 7 Oct. 2010
A marble statue of Maharajah Ranjit Singh (1780-1839) – enthroned
Auction Date: 07 October 2010
Lot# 390 Estimate: £8,000 – 12,000, € 9,600 – 14,000 Measurements: 47.5 cm. high Update: Sold for £24,000 inclusive of Buyer's Premium
Northern India, circa 1900
made in two sections, the division between the upper tier and cushion of the throne, depicted in a seated position with folded legs, relief carved with incised detailing.
Provenance: Formerly in a German private collection.
The present lot does not depict Ranjit Singh in a lifelike way: but it is the blind eye, lost as a child as a result of smallpox, and more obviously the Golden Throne (now in the Victoria and Albert Museum), which mark him out instantly. His long, sharply tapering beard is here abbreviated. There is none of the foxy, wily look which comes across in almost all other depictions (and which by all accounts amply reflected his personality). There are even a few sculptures, made in Northern India, where the Maharajah is portrayed almost as a sort of hobgoblin, a caricature (see for example Christie's, Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds, 7th October 2008, lot 242). Here he sits more majestically upright: in paintings he characteristically hunches forward.
In both Indian miniature paintings and European depictions such as those by Augustus Schoefft and Emily Eden, Ranjit Singh is more commonly shown seated on a European-style chair, or on a bolster. One miniature of circa 1840 does show him on something closely resembling the Golden Throne (see W. Archer, Paintings of the Sikhs, London 1966, no. 28). In addition, he is normally shown – as in the well-known Emily Eden portrait – with one leg resting on a footstool (as in lot 357 in the present sale), a habit recorded by Eden from her own observation. 'He had a constant and curious trick, while sitting and engaged in conversation, of raising one of his legs under him on the chair, which he used in compliance with the customs of his European visitors, and then pulling off the stocking from that foot.' (Emily Eden, Portraits of the Princes and People of India, London 1844, caption to pl. 13; quoted by Archer, op. cit., p. 130).
The 10 Sikh Gurus
Auction Date: 07 October 2010 Lot# 352
Estimate: £12,000 – 15,000, € 14,000 – 18,000
Measurements:690 x 990 mm Update:
Sold for £15,600 inclusive of Buyer's Premium<
Northern India, second half of the 19th Century
gouache on card, the gurus within ten painted ovals in ornate European-style borders, the largest oval depicting Guru Nanak with Mardana and an attendant, two trophy motifs composed of weapons interspersed with the ovals, all on a brown ground, unframed
The Sikh Guru Nanak
Auction Date: 07 October 2010 Lot# 353 Estimate:£800 – 1,200, € 960 – 1,400 Measurements:225 x 142 mm Update:
Sold for £3,360 inclusive of Buyer's Premium
The Sikh Guru Nanak seated on a terrace with his attendant Mardana playing the rebec
Provincial Mughal, possibly Punjab Plains, circa 1800
gouache on paper, red border, framed
Opening page to a manuscript of the Japji Sahib
Auction Date: 07 October 2010 Lot# 354
Estimate: £1,200 – 1,800, € 1,400 – 2,200 Measurements: 244 x 242 mm Update:
Sold for £6,600 inclusive of Buyer's Premium
the opening book of the Guru Granth, the Sikh Holy Book
North India, mid-19th Century
gurmukhi manuscript on paper, six lines of text in black ink, the opening invocation, within a central roundel flanked by two pairs of botehs, five smaller roundels containing images of five of the ten Sikh Gurus with disciples, all on a blue ground with floral motifs in blue, border of floral motifs on a gold ground, framed
Auction Date: 07 October 2010 Lot# 355
Estimate: £2,000 – 3,000, € 2,400 – 3,600 Measurements: 346 x 457 mm Update:
Sold for £2,160 inclusive of Buyer's Premium
By a nobleman in a palace chamber, huntsmen with falcons arriving on horseback in the foreground
Punjab Plains, circa 1840
gouache on paper, red border, unframed
Maharajah Ranjit Singh in Durbar
Auction Date: 07 October 2010 Lot# 357 Estimate: £1,500 – 2,000, € 1,800 – 2,400 Measurements: 220 x 268 mm Update:
Sold for £10,800 inclusive of Buyer's Premium
Punjab, circa 1860-70
gouache on paper, blue and yellow borders with floral motifs, red margin rules, unframed
The composition can be closely compared with that of a woodcut, dated circa 1870, illustrated in W. G. Archer, Paintings of the Sikhs, London 1966, p. 190, no. 92, fig. 111. Sher Singh and Kharak Singh sit to Ranjit Singh's right.
W.G. Osborne, The Court and Camp of Runjeet Sing
Auction Date: 07 October 2010 Lot# 359
Estimate: £1,000 – 1,500, € 1,200 – 1,800 Measurements: 218 x 145 mm Update:
Sold for £2,640 inclusive of Buyer's Premium
With an introductory sketch of the origin and rise of the Sikh state, Henry Colburn, London, 1840
sixteen engravings, 236 pp., black morocco gilt.
William Osborne was military secretary to the Governor General, his uncle Lord Auckland. In May 1838 he was sent to Ranjit Singh's court in Lahore to make arrangements for the later British mission there.