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Journey of a Persian Prince: Freddie Mercury’s Indian Miniature Painting Unveiled by Sotheby’s London.


In a remarkable exhibition-cum-sale by Sotheby’s auction house in London, over 1,400 lots of the treasured belongings of legendary British singer-songwriter Freddie Mercury have been unveiled. Among these items is a captivating Indian miniature painting dating back to the 16th century, known as the ‘Journey of a Persian Prince.’ This article explores the significance of this painting and its connection to Freddie Mercury’s Indian Parsi ancestry, as well as delves into the fascinating world of the rock star’s personal collection.

Freddie Mercury’s Indian Parsi Heritage

Born as Farrokh Bulsara, Freddie Mercury was a rock star whose roots could be traced back to India. Spending a significant part of his childhood in India, where he attended boarding school in Panchgani, near Mumbai, Freddie had a strong connection to the country. The Mughal folio, extracted from an ‘Akbarnama,’ captures a prince on horseback with his entourage and reflects Freddie’s Indian Parsi heritage. His Zoroastrian family, originating from Bulsar in western India, brought a deep sense of cultural identity to the flamboyant artist’s life.

Journey of a Persian Prince’ – A Parallel to Freddie’s Life

The Indian miniature painting, ‘Journey of a Persian Prince,’ holds a profound significance for Freddie Mercury. Adoring the artwork, Freddie resonated with its title and symbolism. The painting is a fusion of the Persian tradition, evident in its style, and its production in India adds another layer of cultural fusion. Just as the prince depicted in the folio embarks on a journey, Freddie’s own life journey encompassed his Zoroastrian upbringing in Zanzibar, followed by his time at a boarding school in India. This parallel between the artwork and Freddie’s life adds depth to the understanding of his multifaceted identity.

freddie mercury
Personal belongings of British singer & songwriter Freddie Mercury during exhibition-cum-sale at the Sotheby’s auction house in London. Courtesy: PTI Photo

The Precious Collection at Garden Lodge

Garden Lodge, Freddie Mercury’s west London home, served as the sanctuary for his extensive collection of art pieces and personal belongings. The exhibition entitled ‘Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own’ offers the public a rare glimpse into this treasure trove, carefully preserved since Freddie’s passing over three decades ago. The eclectic collection includes not only art pieces like the ‘Journey of a Persian Prince’ but also costumes, hand-written lyrics, drawings, furniture, and decorative and fine art, showcasing the diverse interests of the rock icon.

The Cherished Yamaha G2 Baby Grand Piano

At the heart of the exhibition stands Freddie’s cherished Yamaha G2 Baby Grand Piano, which holds immense sentimental value. This prized possession played a crucial role in shaping his greatest compositions, from the iconic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ to his final masterpiece, ‘Barcelona.’ The piano was more than just an instrument to Freddie; it was an extension of himself, a vehicle of creativity. The meticulous care he bestowed upon it reflects his deep reverence for music and his commitment to perfection.

Personal belongings of British singer & songwriter Freddie Mercury during exhibition-cum-sale at the Sotheby’s auction house in London. Courtesy: PTI Photo

A Glimpse into Freddie’s Personal World

While some items displayed in the exhibition are recognizable from Freddie’s famous stage performances, much of the collection has remained hidden from the public eye until now. From early schooltime experiments with poetry to an impressive collection of rare furniture, Japanese decorative arts, glass, graphic arts, and ceramics, Freddie’s tastes were diverse and extraordinary. Through this exhibition, visitors have the unique privilege of coming close to illuminating Freddie Mercury’s personal world, a world that until now, was only known by his closest circle of friends.

Honoring Freddie Mercury’s Legacy

The exhibition will culminate on what would have been Freddie Mercury’s 77th birthday, September 5. Following the exhibition’s closure, six dedicated auctions will commence the next day, with online auctions running alongside. This momentous event not only celebrates the life of the rock legend but also pays tribute to his immeasurable influence on the world of music and art.


Freddie Mercury’s collection of treasured belongings, showcased in the exhibition ‘Freddie Mercury: A World of His Own,’ provides a fascinating insight into the life of an extraordinary artist and individual. From the Indian miniature painting, ‘Journey of a Persian Prince,’ representing his ancestral roots, to his beloved Yamaha G2 Baby Grand Piano, a symbol of his creative journey, each piece reveals a different facet of Freddie’s identity. The exhibition is a celebration of his legacy, offering the world an opportunity to appreciate the man beyond the rock star – a true joy to discover.

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