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    Sale 7586

    West ~ East - The Niall Hobhouse Collection

    22 May 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 344

    A Princess being led to her bed by Servants


    Price Realised  


    A Princess being led to her bed by Servants
    Mughal India, Circa 1760
    Gouache heightened with gold on paper, an inebriated Princess is led to her bed chamber at night, supported by female attendants one carrying a candlestick, laid down between cream margin with gold illumination and gold and polychrome rules on gold speckled white paper with inscription cartouche in the margin which reads taswir-e husn alam kafi shurab, mounted, framed and glazed
    9 x 6½ in. (25 x 16.5 cm.)

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    The inscription here translates: 'the beauty (husn) of the world enjoying wine'.

    This miniature comes from what is known as the 'Husn Album', collected by Sir Elijah Impey who was the Chief Justice in Bengal from 1774 to 1785 and was an avid collector of Indian miniatures. A group of related pages from the album were in the Pozzi Collection (J. Soustiel and M. Beurdeley, Collection Jean Pozzi, Mes Rheims et Laurin, Palais Galleria, Paris, 5 decembre 1970, no. 17-20, 24, 71 and 82). The footnote to that lot suggested that husn (meaning 'the Beauty') was the name given to the young symbolic female represented in the miniatures. Although the miniatures were from a variety of origins and depicted a range of subjects (including three from a Ragamala series) they were all grouped together with cartouches labelling them as husn. A stamp on one of the miniatures identifies the collector as Sir Elijah Impey.

    Another miniature from the album was in a sale of Art Islamique: Vingt-Deux Miniatures des Collections Louis Gonse (Etude Daussy Ricqles, Drouot-Richelieu, 16 December 1988, lot 14). More recently one sold in the Gillot collection (Christie's Paris, Ancienne Collection Charles Gillot (1853-1903), 4 and 5 March 2008, lot 92). Two further miniatures appeared in the sale of Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds (Christie's King Street, 8 April 2008, lots 293 and 294). All the miniatures are laid down on the same gold speckled margins with the same form of identification inscriptions above.

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