Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

The finely executed opaque watercolour and gold illustration was also attributed to a master of the first generation after Nainshuk, Guler or Kangra. When it went under the hammer at Sotheby’s on March 22, four interested parties pursued the painting that was eventually secured on the telephone for $130,000 (£94,200) by the London trade.

The Gita Govinda (Song of the Dark Lord), was a 12th century poem by Jayadeva, that centred on the amorous play of Krishna and his beloved Radha and written in devotion to Lord Krishna.

An excerpt reads: “She performed as never before throughout the course of the conflict of love, to win, lying over his beautiful body, to triumph over her lover.”

This illustration was one of 72 Indian miniature Rajput paintings, dating from the 16th to the 19th century, consigned for sale by Californian collectors, Gloria Katz and William Huyck, on March 22.

Although the holding had taken 25 years to build, their decision to offer the miniature paintings in a single-owner sale reflected their desire to build a photograph collection.

Interest from American and European Institutions, private and London dealers ensured only nine paintings remained unsold.