The first printed depiction of the Taj Mahal will be the centrepiece of Bonhams' sale entitled 'India and Beyond: Travel and Photography' in London on October 4.
Estimated at 30,000-35,000 pounds, 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 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.
The volume is part of an extensive collection of books, photographs and prints about India put together privately over 25 years which makes up the greater part of the sale.
Among the other prominent items from the collection are a complete copy of Emily Eden's "Portraits of the Princes and People of India" estimated at 20,000-30,000 pounds, numerous fine prints by Thomas and William Daniell (ranging from 300-400 pounds to 2000-3000 pounds) in addition to their copy of Oriental Scenery (1812-1816), with 144 aquatint plates estimated at 5000-7000 pounds.
Another item is a scarce complete copy of one of the great pioneering works of Indian photographs: a first edition of Thomas Taylor Meadows and James Fergusson's Architecture in Dharwar and Mysore (1866), with photographs by William Henry Pigou, Andrew Charles Brisbane Neill and Thomas Biggs estimated at 20,000-30,000 pounds.
Other lots include rare prints and books and numerous groups of early Indian photography and albums.