A BLACKBUCK AND A COURT SCENE
A BLACKBUCK AND A COURT SCENE
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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE LONDON COLLECTION: A DOUBLE-SIDED FOLIO FROM THE WANTAGE ALBUM
A BLACKBUCK AND A COURT SCENE

MUGHAL INDIA, CIRCA 1800

Details
A BLACKBUCK AND A COURT SCENE
MUGHAL INDIA, CIRCA 1800
Opaque pigments heightened with gold on card, the recto depicting a blackbuck in a verdant landscape, set within orange rules, the inner borders with black nasta'liq calligraphy reserved against gold ground with floral arabesque, the dusty blue outer border with gold stencilled floral meander, the broad margins decorated with large naturalistic flowering plants, the verso depicting a court scene, with columns of black nasta'liq calligraphy to left and right, the blue border with gold stencilled floral meander, the margins with gold stencilled flowering plants
Recto painting 8 ¼ x 5 1/8in. (21.1 x 13cm.); verso painting 11 1/8 x 6 7/8in. (28.2 x 17.6cm.); folio 15 ¼ x 10 3/8in. (38.9 x 26.5cm.)
Engraved
The painting of the blackbuck on the recto is ascribed amal-e Ustad Mansur Jahangir Shahi
The court scene on the verso is ascribed amal-e Aga Reza

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Lot Essay


The Wantage Album in the Victoria & Albert Museum comprises thirty-three folios bought in London in 1867-68 by Baron Overstone, who presented them to his daughter Harriet Lindsay, later Lady Wantage, on the occasion of her 31st birthday. She bequeathed them to the V&A in 1921. Moti Chandra, in 1949, concluded that only fourteen folios were 17th century Mughal miniatures, drawn from the same large pool of Imperial folios from which the Minto and Kevorkian folios came. A study produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art on the Kevorkian Album in 1987 and a similar undertaking at the Chester Beatty agreed that a larger number of albums had provided the folios for the later Minto, Kevorkian and Wantage assemblages (Elaine Wright, Muraqqa'. Imperial Mughal Albums from the Chester Beatty Library, Virginia, 2008, p.472).

The remaining nineteen folios were thought to be copies of 17th century works, probably produced in India circa 1800 (Wright, op.cit., p.85). The present charming portrait of a blackbuck, with a likely apocryphal signature of the lauded painter of animals Mansur, is most probably one of this second group of folios, produced for the Wantage album around 1800. It is particularly close to a painting from the same album signed by Manohar in the V&A (acc. no. IM.134-1921), which may have served as its inspiration.

A painting of a blackbuck by Mansur survives in the Kevorkian Album in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Stuart Cary Welch, Annemarie Schimmel, Marie L. Sweietochowski and Wheeler M. Thackston, The Emperors' Album: Images of Mughal India, New York, 1987, no. 50, pp. 184-5). A favoured subject for painters, blackbucks were hunted by Emperor Jahangir using captive 'decoy' blackbuck to draw out wild ones, and he was so enamoured with a decoy named Hansraj that he built a stone sculpture in its form after it had died (Wheeler Thackston, The Jahangirnama: Memoirs of Jahangir, Emperor of India, Washington D.C., 1999, p. 69.

Other folios from the Wantage Album were sold in these Rooms, 10 April 2014, lot 30 and 20 October 2016, lot 85.

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