An Indian portrait miniature, circa 1860, depicting Mumtaz Mahal, later mounted by Marcus & Co., the glazed oval portrait, watercolour on ivory, depicting the Empress in half profile, adorned in fine clothes and elaborate jewels, set against a red draped curtain, the portrait later gold mounted and within a frame of scrolling decoration highlighted in white enamel, with half pearl detail, the reverse stamped ‘MARCUS & CO.’, on hinged pendant fitting, length (excluding pendant fitting) 6cm. £1,200-£1,500 Please refer to Jewellery Department for Ivory Licence No. --- MumtÄz Mahal 1593-1631) was born Arjumand Banu Begum, in Agra, Northern India, the daughter of a noble Persian family, her father Abu’l-Hasan Asaf Kahan held high office in the Mughal Empire, and her aunt Empress Nur JahÄn, was the chief wife of Emperor Jahangir. MumtÄz was betrothed at the age of 15 to Shah JahÄn, the young Prince Khurram, becoming his second wife five years later in 1612. They had a loving marriage, with Mumtaz being the beloved favourite of his three wives. She was his constant companion and confidant. She was reputed to be talented and cultured, well versed in Arabic and Persian languages, and of a modest disposition. Contemporary poets extolled her beauty, grace and compassion. Upon his accession to the throne in 1628, Shah Jahan designated Mumtaz as his chief Empress with the title of Padshah Begum '(First Lady or Queen of the Great)’, also bestowing upon her the exceptional right to the imperial seal Muhr Uzaz. In their 19 years of marriage, they had 14 children together. MumtÄz tragically died during the birth of her 14th child in 1631. After her death the Emperor was reportedly inconsolable, going into secluded mourning for a year. Chroniclers recorded that he did not wear bright clothing, jewellery or perfume for more than two years. Very slowly he returned to public life, his hair now white, his back bent from grief. In the same year as MumtÄz’s death, he commissioned the building of the great Taj Mahal, as a magnificent mausoleum to his wife, a mission of love that would take 17 years to build and most of the Emperor’s wealth. The English poet Sir Edwin Arnold described the Taj Mahal as "Not a piece of architecture, as other buildings are, but the proud passion of an emperor's love wrought in living stones”. * * * As with other Mughal royal ladies, no contemporary likenesses are known but imagined portraits were created from the 19th century onwards. See: Miniature painting, watercolour on ivory, titled Portrait of a lady, Delhi, Ca 1860. Bibliographic Reference: Mildred Archer: Company Paintings Indian Paintings of the British period, Victoria and Albert Museum, Indian Series, Maplin Publishing 1992, p 221. * * * The New York jewellers Marcus & Co. were founded in 1892, famous for their enamel work, skills originating from their founder Hermann Marcus from Dresden, who had worked with Court Jewellers Ellemeyers prior to emigrating to New York in the 1850s. Today Marcus & Co. are considered one of the outstanding early 20th century American jewellers. Condition Report Some areas of wear and spotting to the white enamel border. Scratched retailer’s stock number to the reverse, below pin hinge. Overall very good condition. Gross weight 31.1gm.