A rare pencil portrait of the freedom fighter and renowned leader Mahatma Gandhi sitting on the floor and writing, with his signature at the bottom, will be put up for auction on July 11 in London, along with his letters to the family of iconic Indian leader Subhash Chandra Bose. Gandhi was known to be reluctant to sit for any portraits, but this was a rare pencil sketch of the leader by artist John Henry Amshewitz (1882-1942) for which he believed to be have sat through, during his visit to London for the 1931 Round Table conference.
The price estimate for the photo with Gandhi’s words, “Truth is God / MK Gandhi / 4.12.’31”, is believed to be between £8,000-£12,000.
Auctioneers Sotheby’s, who have their headquarter in New York, in the portrait's description said that Gandhi was staying at Kingsley Hall at London’s East End during the visit, at the invitation of one of its founders, Muriel Lester, who had previously stayed in Gandhi’s ashram in India.
The portrait, which was inscribed by Gandhi, the day before he left Kingsley Hall, was given to a local resident who was closely associated with the place throughout her life. It has remained in her family ever since, it added.
The most important of letters that will be auctioned are addressed to Sarat Chandra Bose, who was one of the most outspoken critics of partition and had proposed an independent united Bengal. It includes key comments from Gandhi on the partition of Bengal in the months before his assassination, where he wrote: “You should give up the struggle for unity of Bengal and cease to disturb the atmosphere that has been created for partition of Bengal.”
The letters have a combined estimate of £23,000-£33,000.