Indian Antiques and Fine Art Guide
Over the last few years, the prices of Chinese antiques have soared significantly higher over the initial estimates. Indian antiques are expected to follow, therefore now is the perfect time to invest in beautiful pieces.
The antiques listed below (bar Pushkin antiques) are in upcoming auctions we’re hosting on ukauctioneers: European & Asia Works of Art Auction, and Antiques & Fine Art with Asian Art & Musical Instruments.
The 19th century is a great benchmark to narrow down the immense range of Indian antiques on the market. As they regularly appear at auction, it makes them easy to find and accessible when determining the condition and value.
Indian silver became extremely popular during the second half of the 19th Century, mostly due to the British colonies. Each Indian region had its own distinct style. Most pieces do not contain hallmarks, so as a result it’s a good idea to identify them by design. One of the most noteworthy designs is Cutch (or Kutch), distinguished by finely chased scrolling foliage with flowers, often accompanied by hunting scenes in relief. One of the most famous Indian silversmiths was Oomersi Mawji, easily recognisable by the signatures “O.M.” and “O.M BHUJI”. Usually inspired by Victorian silverware, the most common items include salvers, jugs and cups.
Paintings are often group lots in auction. What to look for is true of any antique paintings: vibrancy, age, provenance, any damage or later alteration. Some examples of Indian paintings become repainted or the identity of sitters in portraits become sadly lost, so it’s a good idea to order a condition report from the auction house or seller before buying. Always check the reverse of the painting. While the inscriptions may be difficult to read (often in Sanskrit or a local dialect), they provide the provenance, although some are added long after the painting has been produced.
Antique brass usually features religious idols or the statuettes of animals, but it should be noted that there are many mass-produced examples on the market. Quite often they are in group lots, similar in style but not always originating from the same place.
Indian figures and sculpture usually depict deities in beautiful detail. Sometimes fragments of stone are taken from larger pieces and mounted, or full figures are often carved from ivory or clay.
You can find more lots on our website