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Fierce bidding on Jindan Kaur necklace at Bonhams sale of Sikh treasures in London
Emerald and seed-pearl necklace owned by Jindan Kaur. Sold for £187,500. Estimate: £80,000-120,000. Photo: Bonhams.


LONDON.- An important emerald and seed-pearl necklace from the Lahore Treasury sold for £187,500 at Bonhams Islamic and Indian Art sale in London today. Tuesday, 23 October. It was among a number of select Sikh Treasures in the sale, and had been estimated at £80,000-120,000. The sale made an overall total of £1,818,500.

The necklace was owned and worn by Jindan Kaur, the final wife of Maharajah Ranjit Singh and the only one not to commit Sati or ritual suicide on his death. As Regent to her five-year-old son Duleep, who was proclaimed Maharajah in 1843, Jindan organised armed resistance to the British invasion but was captured and imprisoned. Escaping to Kathmandu, she was kept under house arrest by the King of Nepal, before eventually moving to England where she was reunited with her son and her jewellery, including the necklace.

Bonhams Head of Indian and Islamic Art, Oliver White, said, “In a highly successful sale, the Sikh Treasures stood out with pride of place going to the magnificent necklace from the fabled Lahore Treasury that once belonged to the formidable and courageous Jindan Kaur. The high price reflected fierce and competitive bidding in the room, on the phones and over the internet.”

Other highlights of the sale included:

• An important Mughal emerald seal made for, and bearing the name of, Marian Hastings, sold for £181,250 (estimate £20,000-30,000). Marian Hastings was the second wife of Warren Hastings, the first Governor General of India (1773-1785). They met and fell in love during a voyage from Dover to Madras in 1769, but Marian was already married and was unable to obtain a divorce until 1777.

• A gold-thread-embroidered, velvet-clad leather quiver and bow holder almost certainly made for Maharajah Ranjit Singh, Lion of the Punjab sold for £100,000 (estimate £80,000-120,000). It is believed that the Maharajah commissioned a quiver in 1838 to wear at the wedding of his eldest son and heir Kharak; and he appears to be wearing the one in the sale – or one extremely similar to it – in a painting of the same year by the French artist Alfred de Dreaux, now in the Louvre Museum in Paris

• The Lockwood Kipling Album, sold for £125,000 (estimate £100,000-150,000). Compiled by artist, curator and school administrator Lockwood Kipling – father of the poet and novelist, Rudyard Kipling – this collection of 120 photographs provides a fascinating insight into India, particularly the Punjab, in the last quarter of the 19th century. Kipling lived and worked in India from 1865 until his retirement in 1893, and the album was put together while he was serving as principal of the Mayo School of Art, now the National College of Arts in Lahore (1875-1893), and curator of the adjacent Lahore Museum.

• The Samsara Collection of Indian Paintings comprising 44 miniatures which cover two main schools, Pahari and Rajasthani, from the 17th to the mid-19th centuries, and also some Mughal works, sold for a combined total of £553,750. A work, possibly illustrating the story of Madhavanala and Kamakandala, dated circa 1780 sold for £81,250, and an illustration from the Sundar Shringar, also dated 1780, made £68,750.






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