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Auction PR Publicity Announcements News and Information

The Tipu Sultan Collection for Sotheby’s Arts of the Islamic World Auction

On Wednesday, 14 April, 2010 Sotheby’s London bi-annual Arts of the Islamic World Sale in London will present an exceptional array of fine and rare works of art that span from the rise of Islam in the 7th century through to the 19th century. The auction, which will also feature important examples of ancient manuscripts, ceramics, metalwork, weaponry, textiles, ceramics and paintings from North Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, Islamic Spain and South Asia, is estimated to realise in excess of £4 million and will be highlighted by Part II of ‘The Tipu Sultan Collection’ (the first part was offered at Sotheby’s London in 2005 and brought £1,239,240/$2,267,437).

Commenting on the forthcoming sale, Edward Gibbs, Head of Sotheby’s Middle East and Indian Art Department, said: “We are delighted to bring to the market the second part of ‘The Tipu Sultan Collection’, which will include seven lots relating to one of the great heroes of Indian history, Tipu Sultan, “Tiger of Mysore” (reigned 1782-99). The first part of the collection, which was offered in these salerooms in May 2005, was extremely well-received, and we expect the second part – along with the other remarkable highlights in the auction – to generate great enthusiasm among collectors in this field.”

Part II of ‘The Tipu Sultan Collection’
The collection features outstanding weaponry and other rarities captured after the British stormed the autonomous Muslim Ruler, Tipu Sultan’s palace at Seringapatam in May 1799. Important highlights in the collection include a very rare sword and scabbard with Tiger-Form Hilt, from the Palace Armoury of Tipu Sultan, India, circa 1782-99 (est. £50,000-70,000), which was formerly in the collection of Viscount Strathallan and an extremely rare Indian bronze cannon cast by Ahmad Pali at the Royal Foundry at Seringapatam for Tipu Sultan, India, dated 1790-1 (est. £120,000-150,000), formerly the property of the Royal United Services Institute.

Further sale highlights:
A Safavid Brocaded Silk and Metal-Thread Textile Panel, Persia, Safavid, 16th or 17th Century. The velvet textiles of Safavid Persia have long been revered for their sophistication of design, their lavish use of materials (silk, often wrapped with silver and gilt foil strips) and extremely complex structure. Here the two-plane lattice design is punctuated by pairs of exotic birds. This previously unpublished velvet appears to be from the same textile as fragments that are now in the the Bargello Museum, Florence, the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon and the M.H. de Young Museum, San Francisco, and is estimated at £300,000-500,000.

Highlighting the remarkable artistic traditions of the Ottoman Empire included for sale is a Magnificent and Exceptionally Rare 17th century Ottoman Silver-Gilt Cantaloupe Melon-Form Hanging Ornament, decorated with vivid Peridot gems (est. £150,000-200,000). Intended to hang above the throne of a royal figure, its luxurious elegance is reminiscent of the wealth of an empire that, at its zenith, stretched across three continents.

The splendour of Ottoman metalwork is further represented by a Rare Large Pair of 18th century Ottoman Tombak Stirrups, Turkey, (est. 30,000-40,000,). Extraordinarily large in comparison to standard 18th century Ottoman tombak examples, these stirrups were produced on special commission, and their size and high artistic quality heightens their rarity.

A Pair of Ottoman Silver Candlesticks Bearing the Khedival Crest of King Fou’ ad and the Tughra of Abdülmecid, Turkey, 19th century (est. £60,000-80,000), is included in the sale. Produced under the reign of Ottoman Sultan Abdulmecid (r.1839-1861), these two magnificent silver candlesticks were presented to King Fouad, (r.1917-36), the sultan and later ruler of Egypt and Sudan. Sharing both Ottoman and Egyptian royal background, the candlesticks are of great importance in terms of their history and artistic originality, and no similar pair has been recorded in any famous public or private collection of Islamic art.

Also featured in the sale is a Diamond and Ruby-set Gold Anklet (Ta’zim), India, 19th century, (est. £300,000-5,00,000), that was once worn by the Maharajah of Morvi in the late 19th century. Consisting of 18 goldwrapped twirling links, each encrusted with an oval finely-cut diamond and four lateral cabochon rubies, the anklet is inscribed on the reverse in devanagari with the maker’s name. Worn by noblemen on their right foot, these anklets were presented at Court as a sign of honour and status. A photograph accompanying this lot illustrates HH Thakur Sahib Waghji II Ravaji, the Maharajah of Morvi, wearing the anklet on his right ankle, probably taken on the occasion of his becoming a Knight Grand Commander of Order of the Indian Empire G.C.I.E.

An additional highlight is a Mughal Gold Inlaid and Gem-Set Jade, later set as a Brooch by Cartier, India, 17th century, (est. £200,000-300,000). Thought to have been a bazuband originally, the quality of the chiseled gold inlay and the gem-settings of the brooch indicate that it was almost certainly a courtly piece. On the reverse, the brooch is inscribed with Cartier Paris.

Further works in the sale include a Fine Iznik Polychrome Dish, Turkey, circa 1575, which is estimated at £60,000-80,000. The present dish displays a magnificent three-dimensional composition produced by the position and size of the five featured roses. Much reminiscent of illustration on paper, this dish represents the apogee of Iznik production which peaked during the late-16th and early-17th century. More realistic representations of particular flowers and leaves became apparent during this period and green artichokes, red tulips, blue hyacinths and other vibrant plant life became the focus of complex aesthetic arrangements.

An Ottoman Painted Wood Room, Syria, dated 1261 AH/ 1845 AD, comprising four walls, a niche and cornicing (est. £60,000-80,000). During the 18th and 19th centuries, Syria became an important centre for the production of complex and beautifully-adorned interiors. Consisting of carved, assembled and decorated wood panels, these rooms would have, along with tile panels and marble mosaics, added refined luxury to the home of a prominent and elegant family. In terms of stylistic forms, the colours and paneling evidence a clear European influence.

Image: Diamond and Ruby Gold Anklet (Ta’zim), India, 19th century. Estimate: £300,000-500,000. Photo: Sotheby’s