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Title: Pair of Book Covers
Materials: papier mâché boards, painted and varnished; each cover has been split, and the two faces mounted separately in scarlet paper frames
Dimensions: 16.2 x 26.2cm (paintings); 23 x 32.7cm (overall, with paper mounts)
Accession Number: LAQ 20
Both outer covers show Fath ‘Ali Shah seated on the Peacock Throne. In one scene the throne stands between two pillars with spiral decoration, and the Shah is attended by princes, ministers and pages; in the other the Shah is attended by ministers and a young page, and there is an open terrace behind him.
The doublures show the Shah on horseback, engaged in hunting activities that seem more symbolic than factual. In one he is spearing a lion in the neck, and in the other his prey is a stag. In both cases the background consists of a landscape with a river, trees, and buildings.
The paintings are unsigned, but the style of the outer faces suggests the work of Sayyid Mirza; the monarch’s face, in particular, recalls that in the large oil painting in the Firuz Collection, Tehran, which is from the Hasht Bihisht palace in Isfahan.
N.D. Khalili, B.W. Robinson & T. Stanley, Lacquer of the Islamic Lands, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art, volume XXII, Part One, London 1996, cat.121, pp.164–5.