History files from the Bhabha family

Oct 11, 2011, 08:55 IST | Soma Das
Chinese silver ware, fish-shaped jugs that date back to the 1880s and Persian carpets from the 19th century that belong to the estate of Mumbai's illustrious Bhabha family are set to go under the hammer. Proceeds will be used for the benefit of the National Centre for the Performing Arts

Industrialist and philanthropist, Dr Jamshed J Bhabha, and his nuclear scientist brother Dr Homi Bhabha, were known to be prolific collectors of art and artefacts. Now, you can browse through the Bhabhas' extensive collection and discover the fascinating stories behind them at an auction being convened by Mumbai based auction house Pundole's.

A pair of Meissen porcelain sweet dishes

"This is the second auction of Dr Bhabha's property -- the first was held in April 2011 and included around 20 paintings from his collection. This auction will include around 400 items, including ceramics, porcelain items, furniture, carpets, silverware, coins and clocks as well," informs auctioneer Mallika Sagar.

Treasure this
You might want to get a glimpse of the KH Ara painting that Dr Homi Bhabha was gifted by Dr Jamshed Bhabha and his wife Betty. "Another rare find is a small kurta embroidered with Chinese thread that was gifted to Dr Homi Bhabha by his grandmother on his first birthday," adds Sagar. She admits that while most collectors choose to focus on specific items, the Bhabhas believed in collecting artefacts across categories.

Silver vases

A few of the other treasures include a set of 18 Royal Doulton dessert plates hand painted with a selection of fruits,  silverware illustrated with scenes from Milton's Paradise Lost, Chinese export silver with images of dragons, silver and glass claret jugs in the shape of a fish, 19th century carpets from Persia, sarees with Parsi motifs, Chinese court robes and rare Jamini Roy paintings.

Silver claret jug shaped like a fish

Each artefact has a note attached to them explaining their significance and history. "These objects act as a portal to a different era. There is plenty of historical value and reflects the lives they led," said Dadiba Pundole of Pundole's.

A trio of Continental Silver pheasant table ornaments

If you're a history and art buff, don't worry about your purse strings getting tugged. The items are priced from Rs 3,000 onwards. "The objects are well-priced and you can buy coffee sets for Rs 5,000 onwards, silverware and lamps for Rs 6,000. There is something for everyone," concludes Sagar.

As per Jamshed Bhabha's will, the proceeds will be donated to the National Centre for Performing Arts, Nariman Point (Bhabha was
its founder).

A 1950s MF Hussain oil on canvas

Works of art preview Till October 11, 11 am to 6 pm; AT 12, Little Gibbs Road, Malabar Hill.
Modern art (Paintings and Sculpture preview Till October 13, 11 am to 7 pm; AT Jamshed Bhabha Theatre (entrance foyer).
Auction dates On October 12 and 13; AT Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.

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