Fath Ali Shah

Fath Ali Shah signed by Ahmad, Persia, dated A.H.1226/A.D.1811 Sotheby’s

Fath Ali Shah signed by Ahmad, Persia

gouache with gold on paper, laid down on an album page, inner border of small floral scrolls in colours on a pale pink ground, ruled in colours and gold, the outer border of blue paper decorated with fine floral scrolls in gold, inscribed ”Al-Sultan Fath Ali Shah Qajar”

The inscription in a cartouche below the standing portrait reads

raqam be-safheh be-farman-e shah-e giti zad
gholamzadeh-ye shahnshah jahan ahmad
(the son of the slave of the king of kings of the world, Ahmad wrote/painted on the page by the order of the king of the world)

Karimzadeh records two painters named Ahmad however both are likely to be one same artist. The first (Vol.I, pp.51-2, no.83) is mentioned as a pen-box and watercolour painter of Fath Ali Shah’s reign. He is said to have been skillful in portraits but also in depictions of stories and landscapes. His recorded works include two watercolours, one a portrait of Fath Ali Shah, the other a portrait of Muhammad Shah (thus pointing to the fact that the artist’s carreer extended to the reign of Muhammad Shah). Karimzadeh’s next entry (no.84) refers to a second painter named Ahmad. He adds that this artist was an oil painter who worked under Fath Ali Shah and Muhammad Shah. Ahmad the oil painter is again mentioned in the Cambridge History of Iran (C.H.IR, vol.7, p.879) where one of his portraits of Fath Ali Shah is illustated (pl.20). He is refered to as follows ‘Among the second generation of court painters, active towards the end of Fath Ali Shah’s reign and during that of his grandson and successor Muhammad Shah, the best was probably Ahmad who, to judge from his early style, may well have been a pupil of Mihr Ali’. Indeed, the present work can be compared to two large oil paintings of Fath Ali Shah standing by Mihr Ali, dating from just before and just after this watercolour (1809-10 and 1813 respectively) (see Diba & Ekhtiar 1998, p.183, no.39; and Falk 1972, no.15).
For another oil painting of Fath Ali Shah by Ahmad see sale in these rooms 3rd May 2001, lot 69.