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Last Updated: Tuesday, 10 February, 2004, 14:06 GMT
Clive of India's gems for auction
Lord Clive
Lord Clive committed suicide
A jewelled 17th Century jade flask produced for the Mughal royal court in India and brought back to the UK by Lord Clive is to be auctioned.

Its rarity means it is estimated to fetch more than 1m.

It was acquired by Lord Clive, an enigmatic figure in the history of the British Empire, after his victory at the battle of Plassey in 1757.

Other artefacts in the Islamic art sale on 27 April at Christie's in London include a dagger and a fly swatter.

The flask is the largest of its kind ever offered for sale, measuring 25cm high and decorated in bands of emeralds and ruby flowers, all set in gold.

It was once part of the royal collection at Delhi.

The vase is the largest of its kind offered for sale
Lord Clive is thought to have acquired it as a reward for his help in the victory at Plassey by the new Nawab, Mir Jaffir.

Lord Clive, the son of a Shropshire squire, had become a soldier and adventurer who had risen through the East India Company, amassing an incredible collection of artefacts.

He operated as ruler of British India as George III's representative.

But although he was once seen as a hero, his position was later questioned as the tide of opinion changed and he was criticised for his means of obtaining such riches.

He became an opium addict and committed suicide in 1774 at the age of 49.

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