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Indian miniature, made in Rajasthan (probably Jaipur) c.1780 – £80,000 at Dreweatts.

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James Nicholson was among the Dreweatts specialists who, last summer, found themselves in five warehouse units surrounded by boxes and packing crates unopened for two or more decades.

The hugely eclectic private single-owner collection mixing ancient and modern was offered for sale in 745 lots at Donnington Priory, near Newbury, across three days from January 23-25 in a catalogue titled An Eye for Luxury: East Meets West. It totalled £1.17m.

Many purchases had been made at auction with numerous items still carrying their original lot tickets from the mid 1970s into the 2000s.

This Indian miniature, made in Rajasthan (probably Jaipur) c.1780, had been bought at Sotheby’s in April 1996. It had previously formed part of a 1985 exhibition, Life at court in Rajasthan, Indian Miniatures from the 17th to the 19th century, held in Turin.

Measuring a substantial 2ft 2in x 4ft 1in (65cm x 1.25m), it depicts the Northern and Southern celestial hemispheres side-by-side populated with colourful figural depictions of the constellations and signs of the Zodiac identified in red Nāgarī script. A deep blue background is decorated in gold with flowers and birds.

Pitched at £8000-12,000, it took £80,000.