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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 February, 2004, 17:23 GMT
Indian treasures in 1m sale
Hookah with rubies and sapphires
The hookah is expected to fetch up to 80,000 at the sale
Historic art treasures brought to Britain by Clive of India which have been displayed at a mid Wales castle are to be auctioned off in a sale which could fetch 1m.

They include a sapphire-encrusted hookah pipe which could go for 80,000, a jewelled dagger estimated at 50,000, and a ruby-inset 8,000 flywhisk.

They were part of an original collection at the imperial court in Delhi, and had been on loan to the Clive Museum at Powis Castle, near Welshpool.

The family of Robert Clive, the 18th century governor of India, have decided to sell them, along with other artefacts from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

We very much hope that they will remain in this country
National Trust

Among the items in the sale from the V&A will be a jewelled jade flask.

A National Trust spokesman said: "We were very grateful to have the items on loan for so long as part of the collection on display at Powis Castle.

"The beautiful collection of treasures from India has certainly contributed to Powis Castle's reputation as a tourist destination.

Stone fortress

"We very much hope that they will remain in this country."

Powis Castle was originally built as a simple stone fortress in 1200, and was transformed in the late 17th century by the 3rd Baron Powis.

In1784, Lord Clive, son and heir of Clive of India, married into the family, bringing the Clives' vast fortune to the castle.

The Clives enriched the castle's store of treasures with paintings, furniture and memorabilia from their years in India which are on show at the Clive of India museum.

Robert Clive is famous for his victory over the Nawab of Bengal at the battle of Plassey in 1757 which signalled Britain's control over India.

Clive, a well-known opium addict, later became governor and commander-in-chief of India before committing suicide after being accused of financial irregularities in 1774.

When asked whether he had acquired his fortune through questionable means, Clive said: " By God, at this moment I stand astonished at my own moderation."

The treasures will be in an Islamic art sale at Christie's in London on 27 April.

The 17th century pistol-grip dagger is decorated with floral sprays, and the flywhisk would originally been fitted with yak hair to enable servants to keep flies from their masters.

There are more than 300 items of Indian and far eastern origin still at the museum at Powis Castle, making it the finest private collection in the UK apart from the V & A.

The museum was opened in 1987 by Countess Mountbatten of Burma.




SEE ALSO:
Clive of India's gems for auction
10 Feb 04  |  Entertainment
300-year-old gem fetches 1.5m
27 Sep 01  |  England
V&A's 5.4m gift for Islamic art
03 Feb 04  |  Entertainment


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