The Falcon and the Prince at Bonhams

In 1977, a young Linda York Leach left home for a symposium on Pahari painting at the Los Angeles County Museum. Little did she know that the experience would determine the future course of her life. It was here that curator Robert Skelton noted Leach's curiosity about Indian art. He was to guide the 30-something art enthusiast to catalogue Mughal and Indian miniatures. The endeavour that would take decades, culminated in the publication, Mughal and Other Indian Paintings, from the Chester Beatty Library, in 1995. It also led to Leach's long romance with Indian art, including collecting masterpieces of significance. Thirty works from her collection will now come under the hammer at Bonhams Islamic and Indian sale on April 24. "Interest and scholarship in Indian miniature painting has grown considerably over the last 50 years and Leach was central to this renewed scholarship," stated a release from Bonhams, acknowledging Leach's contribution.

Comprising bronzes, ivories and textiles, some of the notable works that will feature in the auction include Two Rulers of Jodhpur, depicting 19th century Jodhpur rulers in splendid jamas in fiery orange and an 18th century Rajasthani Mughal painting, where a father is teaching falconry to his son. Both are estimated to be priced at 3,000 to 4,000 pounds. The diurnal falcon that was a constant leitmotif in miniature art, also makes an appearance in the portrait of a late 18th century Mandi prince, estimated to be between 1,200 and 1,500 pounds. A 19th century topographical map of a hilltop fort in Northern India, it is estimated to be between 8,000 and 12,000 pounds.

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