Gandhi’s rare pencil portrait, letters up for auction in UK | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Gandhi’s rare pencil portrait, letters up for auction in UK

The price estimate for the photo with Gandhi’s words, “Truth is God / MK Gandhi / 4.12.’31”, is £8,000-£12,000.

world Updated: Jul 03, 2017 16:36 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
The pencil portrait was drawn by artist John Henry Amshewitz  when Gandhi was in London for the 1931 Round Table Conference.
The pencil portrait was drawn by artist John Henry Amshewitz when Gandhi was in London for the 1931 Round Table Conference.(Image courtesy: Sotheby’s)

Mahatma Gandhi was known to be reluctant to sit for portraits, but a rare pencil portrait for which he sat and later signed is to be put up for auction here on July 11, besides letters written by him to the family of the iconic leader, Subhash Chandra Bose.

The pencil portrait was drawn by artist John Henry Amshewitz (1882-1942), when Gandhi was in London for the 1931 Round Table Conference.  The price estimate for the photo with Gandhi’s words, “Truth is God / MK Gandhi / 4.12.’31”, is £8,000-£12,000.

Auctioneers Sotheby’s said in the portrait's description that Gandhi was staying at Kingsley Hall in London’s East End during the visit at the invitation of one of its founders, Muriel Lester, who had previously stayed in Gandhi’s ashram in India.

The portrait, which was inscribed by Gandhi the day before he left Kingsley Hall, was given to a local resident who was closely associated with the place throughout her life.  It has remained in her family ever since, it added.

The most important of letters on auction are addressed to Sarat Chandra Bose, and include key comments on the partition of Bengal in the months before his assassination, reflecting the intense political pressures that Gandhi faced in his final months.

To Sarat Chandra Bose, who was one of the most outspoken critics of partition and had proposed an independent united Bengal, Gandhi wrote: “You should give up the struggle for unity of Bengal and cease to disturb the atmosphere that has been created for partition of Bengal.”

Dating from the mid-1940s, Sotheby’s said other letters in the collection affirm Gandhi’s continued love of the Bose family, recall visits to their home in erstwhile Calcutta and discuss the future development of India with Amiya Nath Bose, son of Sarat Chandra Bose.

The letters have a combined estimate of £23,000-£33,000, Sotheby’s added.