Three artists were known to work on the decoration and composition of the album in the mid-18th century - Muhammad Hadi, Muhammad Baqir and Muhammad Sadiq. Most of the work of decorating the album was done by Muhammad Hadi, the artist who signed both the gold illuminated margins of this mashq, and those of the miniature of the preceding lot, which are dated AH 1170 and 1171 (1756-57 and 1757-58 AD) respectively. In his discussion on the compilation and decoration of the album, Anatol Ivanov writes that Hadi only decorated the margins around the calligraphic specimens (Francesca von Habsburg et al., The St. Petersburg Muraqqa', Lugano, 1996, p.26). Here however the margin that surrounds the miniature is very clearly signed by him. As the album was organized in such a way that miniature faced miniature, and calligraphy faced calligraphy, always with matching margins, it seems likely that a hitherto unpublished miniature with margins by Muhammad Hadi is yet to be discovered.
Although little is known of the life and work of Muhammad Hadi, research done by B.W. Robinson confirms that he was seen in Shiraz on the 10th September 1821 by the English traveller Claudius Rich who described him as a very old man who no longer practiced his art (B.W. Robinson, Persian Miniatures from Collections in the British Isles, 1967, cat.no.94, p.78). It is worth mentioning that he also described him as amongst "the most distinguished artists in Persiapassionately fond of flowers" and that it was "almost impossible to procure a specimen of his pencil. They are bought up at any price by the Persians" (Robinson, op.cit., p.78). If the two Muhammad Hadi's are the same, then he would indeed have been over ninety years old on Rich's sighting, and probably relatively young when he undertook the commission for this album although already with the status to have been invited to take part in such a project (von Habsburg, op.cit., p.27). Diba records him as an illuminator who specialized in floral designs. He is also known to have worked on a number of other works including a qalamadan which was formerly in the Niyavaran Palace Collection and which is dated AH 1148/1735-36 AD and many single leaves of narcissus, carnations and roses (Layla S. Diba, "Persian Painting in the Eighteenth Century", Muqarnas, Vol. VI, p.154).
The St. Petersburg Muraqqa contained calligraphic folios that were the work of only one calligrapher, Mir Imad al-Hasani, and this mashq is therefore easily attributable to him. For a short note on the famous calligrapher, please see lot 15. For a miniature from the St. Petersburg Muraqqa as well as a note on the album from which these folios come, please see the preceding lot.