A book and map auction of May 16 held by Dominic Winter (20% buyer’s premium) was followed first by a motoring and cycling sale, while a third focused on aviation, military and other transport collecting fields.
The star turn of the latter sale, and indeed the auction as a whole, was an old AVRO hangar which sold at £100,000 (see story on antiquestradegazette.com).
Just a few lots into the first day’s business, however, a bid of £10,500 had been taken on a remarkable Indian manuscript catalogue of tent designs produced around 1880 by the Tonk State Farashkhana Department, a branch of the imperial textile workshops specialising in furnishings and carpets.
During the colonial era in India they manufactured what one British observer referred to as “…elaborate tents and other furnishings and supplies for the camps which were an ordinary part of the life of the maharajas and their households when travelling”.
The three volumes that made up this extraordinary illustrated catalogue incorporated some 155 coloured tent designs on 48 wove paper leaves, around a third of them full-page and all accompanied by Persian specifications in red and black nasta’liq script.