The London-based collector Davinder Toor holds one of the most significant collections of Sikh works in the US and the UK
The collector Davinder Toor has added a £350,000 Sikh turban ornament to his collection of around 500 objects and works of art from the glory days of the Sikh Empire before its dispersal by the British. The turban ornament, or sarpech, is studied with diamonds and emeralds and belonged to Ranjit Singh’s famously ferocious army commander Hari Singh Nalwa. It sold for nearly double its estimate of £180,000 at Sotheby’s sale of Arts of the Islamic World last month.
Toor, who was born in London to Punjabi parents and is the founder of a pharmaceutical services business, started his collection after volunteering at a Victoria and Albert exhibition on Sikh arts in 1999. He will continue collecting and hopes to set up a museum of Sikh heritage, he says.
“My goal was to build a collection of Sikh art to construct a narrative that tells the story of a lost empire,” says Toor. As the biggest collection of its kind in the US or the UK, he believes, “it needs to be shared” in a museum after major loans to several exhibitions.
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