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    Sale 7715

    Art of the Islamic and Indian Worlds

    31 March 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 208

    PORTRAIT OF MO'TAMED AL-DAWLA

    BY A FOLLOWER OF ABU'L HASSAN GHAFFARI, QAJAR IRAN, SECOND HALF 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    PORTRAIT OF MO'TAMED AL-DAWLA
    BY A FOLLOWER OF ABU'L HASSAN GHAFFARI, QAJAR IRAN, SECOND HALF 19TH CENTURY
    Gouache heightened with gold on paper, the bearded figure sits on a pink carpet wearing a tall black hat, a deep blue floral embroidered coat and a lighter blue robe, holding a pearl rosary in his right hand and with two scrolls tucked into his broad white embroidered sash, with identification inscription to the right of the figure, the folio with white, yellow and green outer margins, mounted, framed and glazed
    12 7/8 x 10 7/8in. (33 x 27.4cm.)


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    The subject of this miniature is probably Abbas-Qoli Khan Javanshir Mo'tamed al-Dawla, the son of Abu'l Fath Khan. He was the governor of Kashan in 1835 and of Ardabil and Meskhinshahr in 1859. In 1849 he was appointed Minister of Justice and he died in 1862 or 1863.

    Abu'l Hassan Ghaffari is responsible for another, very similar, portrait of Mo'tamed al-Dawla, (Yahya Zoka, Life and Works of Sani' ol-Molk 1814-1866, Fig. 4, p. 42). In that portrait he holds a similar scroll and string of prayer beads. Zoka refers to an article by Mehdi Bahrami in Iran-e Emrooz in which he writes of that work, "truly no detail of his face is missing in this rendering. The lush beard and hair curls that characterized the visage of Mo'tamed od-Dowleh are all masterfully depicted" (Zoka, op. cit., p. 42). Abu'l Hasan Ghaffari was the chief royal painter under Nasir al-Din Shah. He was sent to Italy to study painting from 1845-50 and was responsible for the introduction of Western painting styles into later Qajar painting. Abu'l Hasan Ghaffari is known to have done more than one copy of many of his works, and his subjects were often copied or assisted by his students.

    Mo'tamed al-Dawla is also represented in the Nezamiyeh Hall and Zoka mentions another watercolour portrait of him by Abu'l Hassan Khan (Zoka, op. cit., p. 42). Another portrait of him, possibly by Abu'l Hassan Ghaffari, was sold in these Rooms, 8 April 2008, lot 228.

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