Sold for £86,000 as part of a June 23 sale held by Lyon & Turnbull (25/20% buyer’s premium) of Edinburgh, they are framed with a signed note by Gandhi that reads “This is what I gave voluntarily at the risk of my life to keep my promise to the Government. Phoenix, Natal, 15th February 1909.“
In the early 1900s, and then a lawyer working in South Africa, Gandhi attempted to organise resistance to the government’s mandatory fingerprinting of Indian residents and for his efforts was repeatedly arrested and imprisoned for refusing to submit to that process.
In 1908, returning to the Transvaal after a visit to Natal, he was charged once again under newly introduced laws but used his court appearance to repeat his objections to the Asiatic Registration acts.
Found guilty, he was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment – though released on agreeing to ‘voluntary’ registration.
This rare item was until 1975 to be found in the South African home of the Canadian consignor’s grandparents.
Other highlights of this Scottish sale included one of just 75 copies of Modern War Paintings by CRW Nevinson, published in 1917 with an accompanying essay by PG Konody.
Sold at £26,000, it features a signed and coloured frontispiece and 24 plates, while in a pocket at the rear is found an etching called ‘Returning to the Trenches’, signed and dated 1916 by Nevinson.