29th Oct, 2020 13:00

Islamic & Indian Art

 
Lot 354
 

λ A PORTRAIT ON IVORY OF CHIKKA VIRA RAJENDRA, THE LAST RULER OF COORG (r. 1820 - 1834)
Mysore (modern-day Karnataka), South Western India, early 19th century

λ A PORTRAIT ON IVORY OF CHIKKA VIRA RAJENDRA, THE LAST RULER OF COORG (r. 1820 - 1834)
PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE LONDON COLLECTOR
Mysore (modern-day Karnataka), South Western India, early 19th century

Opaque pigments on ivory, the vertical composition depicting a full-length standing portrait of the Raja Chikka Vira Rajendra, the last ruler of the Coorg (Kodagu) kingdom (r. 1820 - 1834 deposed), dressed with tight black trousers, a fine white muslin shirt, a red belt around his waist, an encrusted crescent-shaped pendant around his neck and a Western-inspired hat, possibly imitating British officials' helmets in India, walking with a stick in a verdant landscape, mounted, glazed and set within an ivory frame marked with the letter 'D' at the top, accompanied by a handwritten provenance letter to the back, 20.3cm x 14.2cm including the frame.

According to the entry in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, Coorg was an independent kingdom from the 9th century onward. The Ikkeri Nayakas, a Hindu dynasty from the Shimoga district in Karnataka, ruled this kingdom almost continuously from the late 15th until the late 18th century, when Coorg was occupied by the neighbouring Mysore kingdom. The Coorg Kingdom was restored by the British and became a protectorate of British India on 26 October 1790. The last Raja of Coorg, Chikka Vira Rajendra, the subject of our miniature, was deposed by the British in 1834. After the deposition, Vira Rajendra spent some years in Benares and eventually chose to move to England in 1852 with his daughter Gaurama to plead in court for the return of his wealth. He died on 24 September 1859 in London and was buried in the Kensal Green Cemetery. The lot is accompanied by a handwritten provenance letter stating that the miniature, the work of an Indian artist, once belonged to Miss Wheeler (late Matron of Stafford). It came into her possession from her father, the Lieutenant Wheeler of the 48th Regiment of Northampton-shire, who looted it with the taking of Raja's palace ordered by the Brigadier Lindsay in April 1834.

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Sold for £1,500

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