The first printed depiction of one of the most famous buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal, was sold for £31,250 today (October 4) at Bonhams ‘India and Beyond: Travel and Photography’ sale in London. It had been estimated at £30,000-35,000.
It is included in a volume of aquatint views of India by William Hodges who travelled through the country in the 1780s executing drawings on the spot. The Taj Mahal appears in the background of a view of the Fort of Agra suggesting that Hodges was more interested in the military installation than the building which in future generations came to symbolise eternal love. This is one of the most important books of aquatints of India.
Elsewhere in the sale a complete copy of Emily Eden’s Portraits of the Princes and People of India was sold for £46,850 against an estimate of £20,000-30,000. Published in 1844, this exceptionally rare folio of 24 hand-coloured card mounted lithographs covers the panoply of life in the court of the Sikh rulers of the Punjab, from Maharajahs and Nawabs to fakirs, servants and attendants. The plates are based on original drawings by Emily Eden who lived in India from 1835 – 1842 when her brother, Lord Auckland, was Governor General.