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Home / World News / Several rare Punjab-Sikh artefacts auctioned in London

Several rare Punjab-Sikh artefacts auctioned in London

Jindan Kaur’s jewellery, comprising a gem-set gold forehead pendant (chand-tikka), gem-set gold mirrored roundel and a pearl-mounted gold pendant – inherited by her grand-daughter Princess Bamba Sutherland – were sold for £62,563 (the estimate £60,000-80,000).

world Updated: Oct 30, 2020, 12:24 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
ewellery once owned by Maharani Jindan Kaur are among several Indian artefacts sold in auction
ewellery once owned by Maharani Jindan Kaur are among several Indian artefacts sold in auction (Photo courtesy: Bonhams)

A 19th century large panoramic water-colour view of the Golden Temple and jewellery once owned by Maharani Jindan Kaur are among several Indian artefacts sold in auction for hundreds of thousands of pounds in London this week.

The water-colour painting is attributed to English painter Cyril Wiseman Herbert (1847-1882).

According to auctioneer Bonhams, the painting is believed to be the largest depiction of the Golden Temple in water-colour ever to have come on the market. It was sold for £75,063 (the estimate was £60,000-80,000).

Jindan Kaur’s jewellery, comprising a gem-set gold forehead pendant (chand-tikka), gem-set gold mirrored roundel and a pearl-mounted gold pendant – inherited by her grand-daughter Princess Bamba Sutherland – were sold for £62,563 (the estimate £60,000-80,000).

Bonhams said that the jewellery in the sale was “almost certainly” from the casket of jewels handed back to her by British authorities when she agreed to live in London with her son, Duleep Singh, with whom she was reunited in colonial Calcutta in 1861.

The only surviving widow of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, Jindan Kaur (1817-1863) led spirited resistance to the encroachment of the British into the Punjab, but was eventually forced to surrender. More than 600 pieces of her jewellery from the treasury of Lahore were confiscated, and she was imprisoned before escaping to Nepal in 1848.

Oliver White, head of Bonhams’ Islamic and Indian Art, said: “These are wonderful jewels in their own right, made more special still by their rich and fascinating history – the circular stoned gold and mirrored brooch was, according to Princess Bamba, formerly part of Maharajah Duleep Singh’s horse harness. They represent a remarkable link back to one of the richest treasuries in the world.”

Another major sale was a portrait of Viscount Hardinge of Lahore, former governor-general of India, accompanied by his two sons and his aide-de-camp Colonel Wood, on the battlefield after the victory at Ferozeshah during the first Anglo-Sikh war by Sir Francis Grant (1803-78). It was sold for £50,063 (the estimate was £40,000-60,000).

Other artefacts sold include: A copy of the first French edition of Alexander Burnes’ account of his journey through Sikh territories and to Bokhara, titled ‘Voyages de L’embouchure de l’Indus a Lahor, Caboul, Balkh et a Boukhara et retour par la Perse’; eight prints depicting incidents from the Anglo-Sikh Wars; a pencil sketch of the Golden Temple; a painting of Raja Anirudh Singh, son of Sansar Chand of Kangra, dressed in Sikh attire, seated holding a flower at a balcony window, circa 1815-20; and a collection of photographs from the collection of Major Arthur Wallace Dunlop (1866-1937), 23rd Sikh Pioneers.

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