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Specifed lots (sold and unsold) marked with a fill… Read more PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF BONNET HOUSE MUSEUM & GARDENSThis magnificent Qajar painting has hung for almost a century at Bonnet House in the studio of Frederic Clay Bartlett (1873-1953), a Chicago born artist and collector. Frederic graduated from Munich’s prestigious Royal Academy in 1895, and returned to a prolific and prosperous career in the United States. He worked on mural projects in conjunction with American architects and his easel work remains on permanent display in American museums including the Carnegie Institute and the Art Institute of Chicago. He was also was committed to promoting the work of fellow contemporary artists and was a founding member of the Arts Club of Chicago, a pioneering organisation dedicated to the advancement of Modern Art. Frederic built Bonnet House, a plantation-style home, in 1920 on South Florida oceanfront land which was given to him and his second wife, Helen Louise Birch, as a wedding present by her father Hugh Taylor Birch, a prominent Chicago attorney, real estate investor and naturalist. Frederic and Helen led a cosmopolitan lifestyle, travelling regularly to Europe where they acquired a collection of French Impressionist and Modern art including works by André Derain, André Dunoyer de Segonzac, André Lhôte, Amedeo Modigliani, Henri Matisse and Georges Seurat. When Helen died in 1925, Frederic presented their impressive collection to the Art Institute of Chicago in honour of his wife – a portion of the Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection has been permanently displayed in the museum ever since. When the collection was unveiled, soon after Helen’s death, one newspaper called it “the best and most representative collection in the United States, if not in all Europe” (Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, vol.12, no.2, The Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection, 1986, p.94)After Helen’s death, Frederic’s visits to Bonnet House became more sporadic until 1931 when he married Evelyn Fortune Lilly, also an artist (1887-1997). Together they embellished Bonnet House with the decorative elements that delight visitors to this day. Frederic died in 1953, but Evelyn continued to return each winter. In 1983, Evelyn gave Bonnet House to the Florida trust for Historic Preservation. Her contribution – at the time, the largest charitable gift in Florida history – ensured that the site would be preserved for the enjoyment and education of future generations. In 1902, when Frederic was barely thirty, he was asked by a reporter whether he should be called an artist or a collector. His response was “I am a collector. It is a habit – a disease with me. I cannot help buying curios, antiquities, and works of art, even when I have no place to put them…I store some, I weed out about half in favour of better pieces. I exchange, I sift, I sell and then – well then I go to work and collect more” (Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies, op.cit., p.85). We do not have the precise details of Frederic’s acquisition of this important painting, although museum records suggest it was purchased at auction in New York before 1920. Perhaps it was his interest in the art of the mural that originally drew him to it, but whatever the reason it was clearly the case that this was a work that meant something to him. It was not one that he ‘weeded out’ but one that sat in pride of place in his studio for the rest of his life.


Oil heightened with gold on canvas, depicting twenty-four royal courtiers portrayed in three rows of eight, all standing facing left and wearing lavish robes and turbans or crowns, each figure identified in white nasta’liq
101 x 174in. (256.5 x 442cm.)
Special notice
Specifed lots (sold and unsold) marked with a filled square ( ¦ ) not collected from Christie’s, 8 King Street, London SW1Y 6QT by 5.00 pm on the day of the sale will, at our option, be removed to Crown Fine Art (details below). Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent ofsite. If the lot is transferred to Crown Fine Art, it will be available for collection from 12.00 pm on the second business day following the sale. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Crown Fine Art. All collections from Crown Fine Art will be by prebooked appointment only. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Sale room notice
Please note that the provenance for this lot should read as follows: This painting was, before 1921, in the collection of the London-based Alaister McKelvie, and sold as part of the dispersal of his collection at the Anderson Galleries, New York, on November 11-12,  1921, as additional lot 363A.  We are grateful to Armen Tokatlian for bringing this to our attention.

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Lot Essay

When History was Writ Large: The Bartlett Monumental Painting of the Court of Fath ‘Ali Shah

By Dr. Layla S. Diba

With the appearance of this exceptional and unrecorded work, one of the great mysteries of Qajar painting can be solved. Over 47 years ago in 1973 a component of the side panels of a monumental tripartite Fath ‘Ali Shah enthronement scene appeared on the market in Paris. Two years later, a similar work appeared in London and was acquired by the Private Cabinet of Shahbanou Farah of Iran. The Paris work disappeared into private hands but the London painting soon reappeared as a centrepiece of the inaugural installation of the Negarestan Museum in 1975 where it remained on display until the closing of the Museum in February 1979 (Soustiel Paris, Objets d’Art de L’Islam, 24 July 1973, lot 28, 28-40; Sotheby’s, London, Islamic Works of Art, 8 April 1975, lot. 183).
It was not until 1998 when major battle paintings from the Hermitage Museum were shown in the exhibition Royal Persian Paintings: The Qajar Epoch that this genre of Qajar painting was seen by a wide international audience. (Layla Diba and Maryam Ekhtiar, Royal Persian Paintings; The Qajar Epoch, New York, 1998, nos. 50-51, pp. 198-201; first published by Ada Adamova, Persian Painting and Drawing of the 15th to 19th Centuries in The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, 1996, no 74 and 75, pp. 300-312, no.77, pp. 314-15). However, monumental enthronement scenes were represented by contemporary small-scale copies of the Negarestan palace murals (Fig. 1). The original tripartite mural had been situated in the Negarestan palace near the Tehran palace complex (Dar al-Khalafeh) and was executed in 1812-13 by the court artist ‘Abdallah Khan and his team. (The date and signature were seen sometime in 1887-88 by E. G. Browne and recorded in his work: A Year Amongst the Persians, 1893, London, p.96 ; see also Ahmad Suhayli Khawnsari “The Negarestan Palace and Garden” (in Persian) in Hunar va Mardum, 144, 1974, pp. 31-370). The murals were copied by Samsan ibn Zulfaqar Musavvar al-Mamalik in 1904 but not exhibited until 1917. See L’Empire des Roses, Gand, 2017, pp. 294-97). The Negarestan palace painting although long since lost, became synonymous with this type.
Also in 1998, a sharp-eyed visitor to the exhibition signalled the existence of monumental court painting in the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens in Fort Lauderdale, the summer residence of the artist and collector Frederic Clay Bartlett. A fourth painting of this group was identified in a private European collection in the first decade of the 21th century. Finally, a complete cycle of a court painting from the Qom palace of Kay Kaus Mirza, Fath ‘Ali Shah’s 28th son, has emerged. (Kianoosh Motaqedi “From Chehel Sutun to Golestan Palace: The Evolution of Royal Wall Painting during the Reign of Fath ‘Ali Shah“ in, The Idea of Iran: Iran in Transition to A New World Order, forthcoming).
Although single portraits were known to collectors and audiences and well-documented in the scholarly literature, largely because they were relatively accessible in European Museums, this was not the case with monumental paintings, which if they had even survived, were stored in Iranian museum basements. The most important evidence for their significance to the history of Persian painting was first presented in 1963 by the eminent authority on Qajar art, B.W. Robinson, who identified 18 paintings based on European travel accounts and divided them into three groups: battle, enthronement, and hunting scenes, all with the ruler at the epicentre of the composition. Subsequently, two enthronement scenes of Aqa Muhammad and Fath ‘Ali Shah in Sulaymanieh in Karaj were documented, a major battle painting was located in the Iran-Bastan Museum and a magnificent hunting scene appeared on the ceiling of the Rashtrapathi Bhawan (President’s Palace) in New Delhi. (B.W. Robinson, “The Court Painters of Fath Ali Shah, Eretz Israel 7, 1964, pp. 94-105; Wolfram Kleiss and Hubertus Von Gall, Der Qajaren-Pavilion Sulaymanieh in Karaj”, Archaeologische Mitteilungen aus Iran, 10, 1977, pp. 325-39; Layla S. Diba, “Making History: A Monumental Battle Painting of the Perso-Russian Wars”, in Pearls from Water, Rubies from Stone, Studies in Honor of Priscilla Soucek, Artibus Asiae XVI, 2, 2006, pp. 97-111 and ibid. ”Qajar Iran and the West: The Rashtrapathi Bhavan Painting of Fath ‘Ali Shah at the Hunt” in D. Behrens Abu Seif and S. Vernoit, eds. Islamic Art in the 19th Century, Boston, 2006, pp. 282-302).
Now, with the reappearance of the monumental painting from the Bonnet Museum we have enough evidence in hand to truly understand the scope and ambition of dynastic wall paintings of the era. The reappearance of this masterpiece in the art world and its wide dissemination will hopefully preserve it for future generations.
The Bartlett painting is a component of a large-scale tripartite composition of a royal reception which once would have decorated the main hall of a royal Qajar palace of the second decade of the 19th century. Based on the known Negarestan palace model, the work consisted of a central image of Fath ‘Ali Shah seated on the Peacock throne with his eldest sons (now missing), two right-hand panels (Sotheby’s 1975 now in Saadabad Museum, Tehran and Bartlett), and two left-hand panels depicting the ruler’s grandsons (Private collection, location unknown and Soustiel 1973/private collection, location unknown. see Fig. 2). The Bartlett painting, when reunited with the other panels and the central scene would have presented about 100 figures.
The Bartlett panel presents three straight rows of eight three-quarter length figures, organized according to age and rank and divided by balustrades. Their features are idealized and represent generic types: the mature princes are bearded, while the younger ones are clean shaven with side locks of hair. All display the handsome features and elegant figure of their father. The princes are dressed in elaborate court ceremonial attire and either crowned or turbaned according to their rank. The clothing is richly detailed and exquisitely rendered with the precision of manuscript illustration. The alternating brilliantly coloured robes, rich detailing in gold paint of the brocades, shawl fabrics, fur collars, and most of all armlets, epaulettes, crowns, daggers and swords worn by the princes and princelings, impart an air of luxury and wealth to the scene, skilfully evoking the splendours of the imperial treasury. The background is a dark brownish colour, the better to show off the rich costumes and identifying inscriptions next to each figure.
The princes stand to attention, exactly as in the rigid ceremonial required at the court which so dazzled Sir Robert Ker Porter, one of the many European envoys to the court in the early 19th century. (Robinson, op. cit., p. 95) Their arms are crossed in a gesture of submission and allegiance and their gaze is directed towards their father and ruler at the centre. The Soustiel panel’s composition is identical in all aspects except the number of figures which is six in each row.
The four panels can be assigned to the enthronement scenes corpus. The latter all measure approximately 10 x 20 feet, some are even as wide as 30 feet. The number of figures range from six to over 100, with the Qom painting numbering 150. The Bartlett and Soustiel panels belong to a subgroup of four detached fragments with the princes and grandsons in three registers. In my view, they all were components of a complex decorative cycle of a large royal reception hall with Fath ‘Ali Shah flanked by his eldest sons enthroned at one end, the Negarestan and Bartlett panels on the right and the Soustiel and Private European collection panels on the left. Stylistic affinities, similar dimensions, and comparable inscriptions in all four panels support this hypothesis.
The painting may be attributed to ‘Abdallah Khan and his team of numerous workshop painters. The royal workshops were crucial for the execution of major projects such as this one. Even as late as the reign of Naser al Din Shah (1848-96), they executed the Thousand and One Nights manuscript and Loqante mural painting projects under the supervision of ‘Abdallahs’ successor, Abu’l Hasan Ghaffari Sani’ al Mulk. ‘Abdallah had risen in the ranks of the court workshop system sharing the honour with Mirza Baba and Mihr ‘Ali, celebrated for their portraits of the ruler sent abroad as diplomatic gifts. Although all three artists worked in both single format and monumental paintings, there is only a single signed work by ‘Abdallah from 1807, comparable in quality and sensitivity with the magnificent portrayals of Fath ‘Ali Shah by the other two artists: his portrait of Crown Prince ‘Abbas Mirza as a youth (Fig.3).
Maryam Ekhtiar has discussed Abdallah’s career and, based on an 1839 firman of Muhammad Shah, first published by Muhammad Ali Karimzadeh, recorded his elevation to Khan, his appointment as painter laureate naqqashbashi sometime after 1807, designer (tarrah), architect (me’mar) and chief of all the royal workshops (bashi). He was clearly a brilliant conceptualizer of major compositions and projects: his most celebrated works are the Negarestan and Sulaymanieh murals; the rock relief of Fath Ali Shah and his court at Rayy and the tomb carving of Fath Ali Shah’s tomb in Qom, executed shortly before the ruler’s death in 1834. Active circa 1800 to circa 1850, he was also the most long-lived of Fath ‘Ali Shah’s court artists. ‘Abdallah’s style is less distinctive than that of the other two naqqashbashi: Mirza Baba’s works evince the modelling and soft facial effects of his Zand school origins and Mihr ‘Ali specialized in iconic portrayals of the ruler distinguished by their elongated proportions and stylized -almost delicate- facial features whose eyebrows appeared to be delineated with kohl, and masterfully rendered jewels.
The bulk of ‘Abdallah’s work is only preserved in secondary sources. But his success with the Negarestan and Sulaymanieh dynastic paintings and the numerous palace decorations commissioned from him would favour this attribution. According to the firman, he was rewarded for his service in the construction of the following palatine edifices of Fath ‘Ali Shah (in addition to the Sulaymanieh): the Qasr-e Qajar, the Imarat-i Cheshmeh, the Imamzadeh Qulhak, Arghavanieh, Negarestan, Dilgusha, Baharistan and Lalehzar. (Maryam Ekhtiar: “From Workshop to Academy: Art Training and Production in Qajar Iran”, in Diba and Ekhtiar, op. cit., pp. 52, 55 and notes 23, 49 and 52. For a reconstruction of the Golestan in the first decade of the 18th century based on manuscript sources see Layla Diba, “The Lost Palatine City of Fath ‘Ali Shah, in IQSA Journal, X-XI, 2011. 17-29). These sites were located in the vicinity of Tehran. (Abbas Amanat Email communication to the author, Feb. 18, 2021) The execution of giant decorative cycles would have required the very special talents of ‘Abdallah Khan as designer and chief of the royal workshops and the service of a vast army of painters.
Inscriptions identify each of the princes, giving their title and patrilineal or matrilineal descent. The painting acts as a historical record of the dynasty, giving specific information regarding the status of the princes and their role in the court and line of succession. The inscriptions identify grandsons of the ruler through the female line such as the sons of Ibrahim Khan Qajar Qovanlou, Zahir al-Dawleh, thus visualizing minor members of the dynasty little known from historical accounts. The inscriptions contain certain historical inaccuracies, but in my view support a dating to the second decade of the 19th century and the original location of the works proposed herein.
During the second decade of the 19th century Iran was involved in the inconclusive first Perso-Russian War (1805-13) and ultimately disastrous second Perso-Russian war (1826-28). Occasions for elaborate ceremonials were devised from New Year Salaams, to public levees, diplomatic receptions and poetic gatherings. The court was a set for displays of pageantry and loyalty.
It was also a period of consolidation of royal power characterized by a massive building program and the creation of a dynastic image. Lavish decorative cycles of the ruler and his sons played a critical role in the construction of this image, and were displayed in the numerous palaces, pavilions and gardens of the ruler and his many sons and prince-governors. Numerous accounts, both foreign and local, record the painted decoration of the palaces though none specifically mention the three-row group.
The Bartlett painting is the only one of the group to have specific and very intriguing provenance. Museum records based on an oral interview with his widow in 1983, indicate that the work was acquired in New York from the Plaza Auction House by Fredrick Clay Bartlett sometime before 1920 when Bonnet House was built (email communication, Denyse Cunningham to the author Feb 19, 2021). Its royal provenance and the appearance of this painting outside of Iran well before the remainder of the group requires an explanation. A taste for Oriental art developed in America in the late 19th and 20th centuries fostered by international art fairs and art dealers in New York. Bartlett was a talented artist and passionate art collector who was interested in Oriental curiosities as well as Impressionist paintings. This would perfectly describe the field of activities of Dikran Kelekian, a leading art dealer and tastemaker. Kelekian had organized an Imperial Persian Pavilion at the St. Louis World’s fair (1904) and had then sold the exhibits in New York at the Fifth Avenue Auction House in 1906-07. He was favoured with a title by the Qajar ruler Muzaffar al Din Shah (1896-1907) (Luiza deCamargo, ”Content and Character: Dikran Kelekian and Eastern Decorative Arts Objects in America” Master of Arts Thesis, The Smithsonian Associates and the Corcoran College of Art and Design, 2012), indicating he would have been in a position to acquire works from the Tehran court such as our painting, at a time when due to renovations, changing tastes and financial problems, a number of royal treasures were discreetly sold. Bartlett apparently also purchased works at another action house, the Plaza Art Gallery, (Cunningham, 2021, ibid) and he may well have acquired our painting there. The Bartlett painting thus provides evidence of American collecting taste for Persian and Islamic art in this era, situating him somewhere between the Hudson River School artist Frederick Church and the world-traveller and collector, Doris Duke. The fact that he was an art connoisseur and kept the painting installed in his studio, even when he later deaccessioned works from the collection, speaks to his very original and innovative taste. (email communication, Denyse Cunningham to the author Feb 19, 2021).

To conclude, we may argue that the Bartlett painting came from one of the palaces mentioned in the 1839 firman which would have been torn down by the late 19th century and its contents sold to an intermediary, possibly Dikran Kelekian, who was known to Muzaffar al-Din Shah. In stylistic terms, the Bartlett painting and its group are hieratic, theatrical, extremely lavish and really unprecedented in Persian painting, which in the 19th century, was synonymous with ‘miniature painting’. Certainly, they astonished European visitors traveling in Iran in this period. Given the historicizing nature of the early Qajar court we may also discern a connection with the Persepolis reliefs supported by Abdallah’s rock reliefs of Fath ‘Ali Shah (William Robinson, email communication to the author, February 21,2021)

The Bartlett painting and its subgroup emphasizes that these were not only dynastic images but evidence of the pecking order of the princelings and the struggles for succession after the death of Fath ‘Ali Shah. These paintings broaden the scope of Persian painting from the miniature to the monumental, presenting a kaleidoscope of imagery not unlike a giant royal muraqqa. They are history writ on a large scale.

I wish to express my gratitude to William Robinson, Abbas Amanat, Manoutchehr Eskandari-Qajar, Behnaz Atighi Moghaddam and Melis Cokuslu for their assistance in the research and preparation of this entry.


Courtesy of Dr. Manoutchehr Eskandari-Qajar
Top row (left to right)
1. Ebrahim Mirza son of Esma’il Mirza. Esma’il Mirza is Fath 'Ali Shah’s eighteenth son from Zoleykha Khanum.
2. Siyavash (or Siyavosh) Mirza son of Kiomarth (or Kiumarth) Mirza. Kiomarth Mirza is Kiomarth Mirza “Il-Khani” “Abol Moluk” “Molk-Ara,” Fath 'Ali Shah’s thirty-second son from Pari Shah Khanum Gorji, a.k.a. “Hajieh Shah Khanum.”
3. Arsalan Mirza son of Seyf al-Moluk Mirza. This is an interesting addition because Arsalan Mirza is the great-grand son of Fath 'Ali Shah. Seyf al-Moluk Mirza is the son of 'Ali Shah "Zell al-Soltan," who was the tenth son of Fath 'Ali Shah. Seyf al-Moluk Mirza was the son of 'Ali Shah Mirza from Hajieh Agha Khanum, the daughter of Qahar Qoli Mirza Afshar, son of Shahrokh Mirza, son of Reza Qoli Mirza, son of Nader Shah Afshar.
4. Mohammad Karim Mirza son of Mohammad Mehdi Mirza. Mohammad Mehdi Mirza is the thirtieth son of Fath 'Ali Shah from Moshtari Baji.
5. Emam Qoli Mirza son of Sheykh 'Ali Mirza. Sheykh 'Ali Mirza is Sheykh 'Ali Mirza “Sheykh al-Moluk,” Fath 'Ali Shah’s ninth son from Maryam Begom, daughter of Sheykh 'Ali Khan Zand.
6. Esma'il Mirza son of Ebrahim Mirza. Ebrahim Mirza is Fath 'Ali Shah’s thirty-ninth son by Begom Jan Khanum, daughter of Haji Sadeq Qazvini.
7. Ghahreman Mirza son of Hasan 'Ali Mirza. Hasan 'Ali Mirza is Hasan 'Ali Mirza “Shoja’ al-Saltaneh,” Fath 'Ali Shah’s sixth son from Badr-e Jahan Khanum.
8. Akbar Mirza, son of Homayun Mirza. Homayun Mirza is Fath 'Ali Shah’s sixteenth son from Maryam Khanum of the Bani Israel. He was the full brother of Fath 'Ali Shah’s favorite daughter, Shah Begom Khanum “Zia’ al-Saltaneh.”
Second row (left to right)
1. Hasan Khan son of Ebrahim Khan. Ebrahim Khan Qajar Qovanlu "Zahir al-Dowleh" (d. AH 1240/CE 1825), the first son-in-law of Fath 'Ali Shah, husband to Fath 'Ali Shah’s first daughter, Homayun Soltan Khanum known as "Khanum Khanuman” “Navab Mote'aliyeh” “Khan Baji,” sister of Hoseyn 'Ali Mirza Farman Farma and Hasan 'Ali “Shoja' al-Saltaneh,” whose son is also featured as no. 7 in the top row. Ebrahim Khan “Zahir al-Dowleh” had three children with this daughter of Fath 'Ali Shah, but had a total of forty-one children (twenty sons and twenty-one daughters.) Two further sons are also depicted in the bottom row (nos. 7 and 8). Ebrahim Khan “Zahir al-Dowleh” was both the paternal cousin of Fath ‘Ali Shah, as well as his adopted son and his son-in-law, and much honored by Fath 'Ali Shah. This, in addition to his large number of sons, makes him the likely candidate for the “Ebrahim Khan” in question.
2. Shah Khalil, son of …. ?
3. Mohammad 'Ali Khan, son of Allahyar Khan. Mohammad 'Ali Khan refers to Mohammad 'Ali Khan “Sardar,” son of Hajieh Maryam Khanum, fifth daughter of Fath 'Ali Shah, and of Allahyar Khan “Asef al-Dowleh” Qajar Davalu “Tajbakhsh,” one of the powerful Davalu Khans and Grand-Vizier of Fath 'Ali Shah.
4. Asad Allah Khan, son of Mohammad Baqer Khan. Asad Allah Khan could refer to Asad Allah Khan son of Zeynab Khanum, eleventh daughter of Fath 'Ali Shah, and of Mohammad Baqer Khan “Merrikh Shah,” (himself son of Hoseyn Qoli Khan Kuchak, brother of Fath 'Ali Shah). Given that this was such an important grandson, it would make sense to have him in this painting, but this identification is not certain.
5. Illegible.
6. Illegible.
7. Ja’far Qoli Mirza son of Nayeb al-Saltaneh (Ja’far Qoli Mirza was the eleventh son of 'Abbas Mirza. “Nayeb al-Saltaneh” refers to 'Abbas Mirza, Fath 'Ali Shah’s fourth son from Asiyeh Khanum Davalu. )
8. Mohammad Rahim Mirza son of Nayeb al-Saltaneh. (The writing looks like “Ebrahim," but 'Abbas Mirza’s nineteenth son’s name was Mohammad Rahim Mirza “Zia’ al-Dowleh.” “Nayeb al-Saltaneh” refers to 'Abbas Mirza, Fath 'Ali Shah’s fourth son from Asiyeh Khanum Davalu.)
Bottom row (left to right)
1. Illegible.
2. Mirza Abol-Qasem son of Mirza Gholam Shah. This refers to Mirza Abol Qasem, son of Farrokh Soltan Khanum, thirty-fifth daughter of Fath 'Ali Shah, and of Mirza Gholam Shah “Pishkhedmat Bashi” (Head Chamberlain of Fath 'Ali Shah).
3. Allah Qoli Khan son of Musa Khan. Allah Qoli Khan refers to Allah Qoli Khan “Il-Khani,” son of' Ezzat Nesa’ Khanum, thirteenth daughter of Fath 'Ali Shah, and of Musa Khan Qajar Qovanlu. He owned the famous Bagh-e Il-Khani, near the location of the Bank-e Melli, and on account of his double Qovanlu parentage, considered himself a claimant to the throne.
4. Khalil or Jalil Allah son of Ali Mohammad Khan.
5. Jamshid Khan son of …? Khan.
6. Jamshid Khan son of Soleyman Khan. This Soleyman Khan is possibly Soleyman Khan “Amir Kabir” “Nezam al-Dowleh” “E'tezad al-Dowleh” Qajar Qovanlu (d. AH 1220/CE 1805), son of Mohammad Khan Qajar Qovanlu. He was one of the most respected early Qajar commanders who fought for the right of Aqa Mohammad Khan to be Shah, and one of the great Qovanlu Khans.
7. Fakhr al-Dowleh, son of Ebrahim Khan (see Second Row, no.1 for identification of Ebrahim Khan.)
8…., son of Ebrahim Khan (see Second Row, no.1 for identification of Ebrahim Khan.)

Please note for this lot we have used Persianate transliterations, rather than Arabic used elsewhere in the catalogue.


I had some misgivings on the identifications of the “sons of Ebrahim Khan” and, upon further research and consideration, I would like to offer what I consider to be the correct identification. I am fairly certain that the Ebrahim Khan named here is Ebrahim Khan Qajar Qovanlu "Zahir al-Dowleh," the first son-in-law of Fath ‘Ali Shah, husband to Fath ‘Ali Shah’s first daughter, Homayun Soltan Khanum known as "Khanum Khanuman” “Navab Mote'aliyeh” “Khan Baji”, sister of Hoseyn 'Ali Mirza Farman Farma and Hasan 'Ali “Shoja' al-Saltaneh” whose son is also featured in the Bartlett painting.

Ebrahim Khan Zahir al-Dowleh had three children with this daughter of but had a total of 40 children (20 sons and 21 daughters).(Source for the total number of children: Bamdad, Vol. I, p. 21). Ebrahim Khan Zahir al-Dowleh was both the paternal cousin of Fath ‘Ali Shah, as well as his adopted son and his son-in-law, and much honored by Fath ‘Ali Shah.

It thus makes perfect sense that he be the “Ebrahim Khan” in question whose sons are featured in both the Soustiel and Bartlett paintings. In fact, one of the sons whose names I do have, Abolfath Khan, is featured in the Soustiel painting. Given that he had twenty sons and he was a favorite cousin, adopted son and son-in-law of Fath ‘Ali Shah, it makes sense that the other “sons of Ebrahim Khan” also be his.

I also have a guess as to who is being referred to as the father of Jamshid Khan: "Jamshid Khan son of Soleyman Khan.” This Soleyman Khan could possibly be Soleyman Khan “Amir Kabir” “Nezam al-Dowleh” “E'tezad al-Dowleh” Qajar Qovanlu, son of Mohammad Khan Qajar Qovanlu. He died in 1805 and would be the right person to have a son featured here in the painting. He was one of the most respected early Qajar commanders who fought for the right of Aqa Mohammad Khan to be king, and one of the great Qovanlu Khans.

(Email Correspondence to the author, February 20,2021)

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