Bonhams Report Strong Sales at Indian and Islamic Auction

Bonhams sale of Islamic and Indian Art on October 4th at New Bond Street attracted stiff competition for the best items, boosting prices way beyond pre-sale estimates.

The cover lot, A 16th century Iznik bottle flask from a private Belgian collection, estimated to sell for £60,000 to £80,000 made £184,850. This important Iznik water bottle made in Turkey around 1575 is only the third such flask to come to the market in the last 10 years.

Within the lexicon of shapes and types of this highly regarded pottery, the bottle flask is held in particular esteem. Examples exist in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon and in the Sadberk Hanim Museum, Istanbul but have appeared on the market very rarely.

Alice Bailey, Head of Indian and Islamic Art at Bonhams, comments, “It is a lovely piece with a fascinating connection to collecting and industry at the turn of the century. We are pleased but not surprised the flask attracted such attention from international buyers. The results of Tuesday’s sale demonstrates the durability of good quality pieces in a difficult market.”

A fine Mughal miniature painting of a courtier attributed to the court painter Aqa Riza, estimated at £10,000 to £15,000 sold for an astonishing£121,250. The charming Mughal portrait of a kneeling bearded nobleman dressed in crimson was painted in the early 17th century and incorporates many features of both Mughal and Persian miniature painting. It was the second miniature from the same private English collection to be sold with Bonhams.

A group of three rather spectacular ruby and emerald and diamond pendants dating from the 17th-18th century were among the most important items in Bonhams sale, making a total of £219,750 and highlighting interest in this area.

A rare 17th century diamond-set enamelled gold cruciform pendant with connections to precious objects produced in Goa for European merchants led the group making the top end of the £70,000-100,000 estimate.

Another stunning item from the collection, a gem-set gold pendant in the form of a bird estimated to sell for £30,000-50,000 sold for £87,650 while the third gem-set gold pendant in the form of a bird with open wings and naturalistic feather engraving sold for £32,450.

Other strong results were achieved in Ottoman ceramics and manuscripts and Indian miniatures.

Image: Iznik pottery Water Bottle Turkey, circa 1575. Photo: Bonhams.

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