London: A gem set turban ornament, or a sarpech, that belonged to the Sikh Khalsa commander Hari Singh Nalwa in the 19th century was among the key highlights of an auction held by Sotheby’s auction house in London.
The enamelled turban ornament fetched £350,000, nearly double its estimate of up to £180,000, at the Arts of the Islamic World auction on Wednesday.
Other major Indian highlights from the sale by Sotheby’s included two 17th century Mughal miniature paintings from India A Battle Outside a Walled Fortress, attributed to Sur Das, which fetched £143,750, and A Drawing of Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, which fetched £102,500. The sale formed part of the Middle Eastern and Orientalist Art Week at the auction house in London, which attracted total sales of £18.7 million.
“There has been a real buzz in our exhibitions over the past week, and this sense of excitement carried through into the saleroom with enthusiastic bidding from private collectors and institutions alike,” said Edward Gibbs, Sotheby’s Middle East and India chairman.
“There was a real breadth to the array of artworks on offer, reflected both in the strength of bidding and the participation of a wide spectrum of collectors from over 50 countries. Twelve new auction records were set for artists from across the region, amongst them established, indeed treasured, modern masters as well as lesser-known names that we were introducing to our collectors for the first time,” he said.
The auction week witnessed an “epic auction duel” with bidders battling it out for the Venetian portrait of fabled Ottoman Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent, an artwork that encapsulates “rarity, beauty and provenance as well as embodying the cross-cultural dialogue that enriches this varied collecting category”. The portrait fetched £5,323,500, way above its estimate of £350,000.
“It is wonderful to witness art and artists from the Middle East gaining ever wider recognition, reflecting the truly global appeal of this rewarding area of the market,” Gibbs added....