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Report from Europe by Darius KADIVAR


London Bonhams Auction of Nasseredin Shah Portrait sells £260,000


Portrait of Nasseredin
(Nasr al-Din Shah) Qajar auctioned at
London's New Bond Street


An official portrait of Nasr al-Din Shah Qajar (reg. 1848-1896), painted on the occasion of his second State visit to England in 1889 the Shah standing looking directly at the viewer, his right hand resting on a European-style armchair, wearing a dark late 19th Century military uniform with the belt from the Imperial Crown Jewels of woven gold fastened with an emerald buckle set in a diamond-studded gold mount, a diamond medallion and a diamond-studded sash around his neck, he holds a diamond-studded sword in his left hand, and wears a beret on his head decorated with the Lion and Sun emblem, oil on canvas, signed and dated 1889 lower left, in a Victorian gilt frame with a later plaque reading His Imperial Majesty Nasr-ed-Din , K.G., the late Shah of Persia, painted by John A. Vinter, during the visit of His Imperial Majesty to England in 1889 (The Property of the Imperial Bank of Persia)
155 x 102 cm.


The painter:
John Alfred Vinter (circa 1828-1905) was a painter of portraits, genre scenes and subjects from literature and history. He was also a lithographer of portraits and came to the attention of Queen Victoria as a result. Many of his lithographs which were exhibited at the Royal Academy were done for her including a portrait of Prince Albert after Winterhalter. See C. Wood, The Dictionary of British Art, vol. IV, Victorian Painters, London 1988


Parviz Fannizadeh as Malijak in the popular tv series on Nasseredin Shah
(played by
Jamshid Mashayekhi ) entitled Soltaneh Sahebgaran and in
the role of a Qajar Prince's butler Mash Gassem in
Uncle Napoleon

The Martyr King:

Nasseredin Shah Qajar also known as the Martyr King had a controversial reign where Oriental despotism co-existed with fascination for Western culture and industrial innovations that led him to travel to the major European Capitals during his reign in an effort to consolidate diplomatic ties with the Super Powers of the time. He is remembered for introducing a number of western innovations to Iran, including a modern postal system, train transport, a banking system and newspaper publishing. He was also the first Iranian to be photographed. He was also the first Iranian monarch ever to write his diaries.


Nasereddin Shah is received by Queen Victoria at
Windsor Castle in July of 1873.

Nasser-al-Din was assassinated by Mirza Reza Kermani, a follower of
Jamal al-Din al-Afghani, when he was visiting and praying in the shrine of Shah-Abdol-Azim. It is said that the revolver used to assassinate him was old and rusty, and had he worn a thicker overcoat, or been shot from a longer range, he would have survived the attempt on his life. Shortly before his death he is reported to have said "I will rule you differently if I survive!"


A rare and crispy Woodbury type photograph of Nasserdin Shah Qajar, 1880's,
by French Photographer Barraud
. Nasserdin Shah introduced photography in
Iran and his son, Muzzaderedin Shah was to introduce motion pictures

He was buried in the
Shah-Abdol-Azim Cemetery, in Rayy near Tehran, where he was assassinated. His one-piece marble tombstone, bearing his full effigy, is now kept in the Golestan Palace Museum in Tehran and is renowned as a master piece of Qajar era sculpture.


Photo by Walery, British Queen Victoria's Personal photographer
and Painting of Persian Shah by John Alfred Vinter
(circa 1828-1905) based on this photo.


Authors Notes:


Official Website of Bonhams Auction.


Recommended Viewing :


Qajar State visit to Great Britain pictory


Footage of State Visit of Muzzaferedin Shah Qajar ( Nasseredin Shah's son ) state visit to Paris 1900. It is considered as the very first film (albeit a home movie) to be shown in public in Persia. (see youtube)



About the Author:
Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and Media Consultant.

... Payvand News - 11/06/07 ... --

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