Auctions | August 10, 2016

Books from the 1700s in StoryLTD's First-ever Antiquarian Books Auction

image007.jpgMumbai, 10 August 2016: Between 1812 and 1816, a lavish six-part compendium with breathtaking illustrations of Mughal and Dravidian monuments, cityscapes and sublime views of mountains and waterfalls—the most extensive work of its kind, held its readers in awe. The aquatint illustrations were so accurately and skilfully made, that they put to shame all those who had previously attempted similar illustrations. Touted as “the finest illustrated work ever published on India” (Tooley), Oriental Scenery was a landmark compendium of illustrations by Thomas and William Daniell, two of the most celebrated landscape artists of their time. The work is now in StoryLTD’s upcoming Antiquarian Books auction on 16 - 17 August. Lot 39 in the auction catalogue, it is estimated at INR 10 - 15 lakhs (USD 15,155 - 22,730) as one of the star lots of the sale.

Fascinating sketches of fish, reptiles, local plants, landscapes, the customs and attire of various communities, portraits of rajas, and accounts of wars are but few of the themes covered by travellers to the Indian sub-continent, and form a large part of the auction catalogue. Highlights include other important books from the mid-19th century:

  1. Lot 9: Portraits of the Princes and People of Eden, published in 1844, was one of English poet and novelist Emily Eden’s important works. She documented the lives of Indian rulers and their families when she accompanied her brother, Lord Auckland, to India when he was Governor General from 1835 - 1842. The book is bound in an original contemporary half Moroccan and cloth cover, and features a rich gilt lettering on the cover and spine. It is estimated between INR 9.5 - 10 lakhs (USD 14,395 - 15,155).
  2. Lot 21: Recollections of India, 1847, features lithographic plates of the landscapes of British India, with a focus on Kashmir and Punjab. Included are portraits of some of the rulers of Kashmir. The book is estimated between INR 8 - 8.5 lakhs (USD 12,125 - 12,880).
  3. Lot 29: Des Prinzen Waldemar Von Preussen Nach Indien: 2 Volumes, 1853, includes illustrations of the landscapes and peoples of India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Egypt, as well as portraits of kings and accounts of local wars. It is estimated at INR 9 - 10 lakhs (USD 13,640 - 15,155).
  4. Lot 30: Views of Calcutta, 1848, includes stunning lithographs of the topography of Calcutta in the 1830s, and is estimated between INR 9 - 10 lakhs (USD 13,640 - 15,155).
  5. Lot 41: Architecture of Ahmedabad, 1866, is an early and rare photographically-illustrated record of the art and architecture of western India, estimated at INR 2.5 - 3 lakhs (USD 3,790 - 4,550).
  6. Lot 43: Scenery, Costumes, and Architecture, Chiefly on the Westernside of India, 1826 - 1830, is a three-volume set with rich colour illustrations, estimated at INR 6 - 8 lakhs (USD 9,095 - 12,125).

Editions of books from the 1700s also feature in the sale. Lot 50: An Account of Indian Serpents, Collected on the Coast of Coromandel, 1796, is the first edition of the first published work on Indian snakes. It features 44 hand-coloured aquatint illustrations of the reptiles, and is estimated at INR 2.5 - 3.5 lakhs (USD 3,790 - 5,305). Lot 4: Select Views in Mysore by Robert Home, is a first-hand documentation of the power struggles that saw the rise of the British Raj in India. Published in 1794, the book is estimated between INR 75,000 - 85,000 (USD 1,140 - 1,290). Lot 34: The History of Hindostan: 2 Volumes was published in 1768. It documents the sub-continent’s history up to the death of Emperor Akbar and is estimated between INR 65,000 - 75,000 (USD 985 - 1,140).

The auction is the first of its kind to feature on StoryLTD; previous rare book auctions were themed on Indian art and artists. It is preceded by viewings in Saffronart, Mumbai. All lots on auction are non-exportable, however bidders based outside India can participate in the auction if they provide an Indian shipping address.


16 - 17 August 2016
Bidding begins 8 pm IST on 16 August

About Saffronart:

A global company with deep Indian roots, Saffronart was founded in 2000 on the strength of a private passion. Remaining committed to this passion and personal values, today Saffronart is a strong and successful international auction house that both embraces and drives change.

A platform for fine art and collectibles with over fifteen years of experience in auctions, Saffronart is committed to serving the growing community of Indian collectors, while also creating a cultural bridge to India for both the global Indian diaspora and the international community at large. Saffronart has set several global benchmarks for online auctions and is the subject of a case study at Harvard Business School.

In its 15 year journey, Saffronart has established itself as one of the leading auction houses in the world and has held several highly successful online and live auctions and preview events in cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, New York, London, Singapore and Hong Kong. In July 2015, Saffronart appointed Hugo Weihe, former International Director of Asian Art at Christie’s, as its new Chief Executive Officer. Weihe oversees Saffronart’s presence in Mumbai, New Delhi, New York and London in building a market for Indian art and antiquities globally.

Responding to the needs of today’s collectors, Saffronart offers a range of services including art advisory, private sales, appraisals and valuations, and specialised art storage. Through these personalised services, our dedicated team of professionals provides collectors with a comprehensive set of options to evolve and care for their collections over time. In April 2010, Saffronart leveraged its online presence and global reach to introduce a new service - Prime Properties in India. In 2013 Saffronart launched StoryLTD, an online auction and e-commerce platform to serve a broader base of art and collectibles buyers. Since 2014, StoryLTD has been holding a number of no-reserve online auctions which been enthusiastically received. StoryLTD recently launched its new programme of weekly auctions catering to the growing affordable art market.