India, Delhi, 18th century. Ink and watercolor on paper. A Ragamala illustration to the musical mode Pancham Ragini, depicting a prince and princess seated in a pavilion on a terrace, a female attendant holding a fly-whisk behind them, the royal couple listening to two female musicians playing string instruments.
Inscriptions: To the top border, ‘Pancham Ragini’. To reverse with a lengthy inscription and (in English), ‘Indian. Mughal. 42:16.481’.
Provenance: Collection of Arthur B. Michael, 1942. Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, acquired from the above, accession number 42:16.481. The reverse of the mat with a handwritten paper label from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, stating the accession number and, “Indian, mid 18th century. Group of People. […] watercolor and ink on paper […] Bequest Arthur Michael”.
Condition: Good condition with old wear, minor soiling, few small tears and losses, possibly with minuscule old touchups. Matted.
Dimensions: Image size 12.6 x 8.3 cm, Folio size 16.3 x 11.8, Mat size 25.4 x 20.4 cm
Note the extremely fine drawing, which holds up to even very strong magnification, and would have made appropriate coloration impossible at the time.
Auction result comparison:
Auction: Sotheby’s London, 6 October 2015, lot 91
Price: GBP 6,250 or approx. EUR 9,000 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: Two studies for Ragamala illustrations, Basohli, circa 1680
Expert remark: Compare the related material, verso, and recto of the same folio. Note the lost consists of two studies
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