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01290038

The Indian Durbar Hall at Osborne
The Illustrated London News - Her Majesty the Queen, as Empress of India, tkaes great intrest, especially of late years, in studying the affiars of her vast Asiatic dominion, the condition of its different populations, their habits and manners, and the rank of its native princes, some of whom have been her visitors in England, and with whom she has learnt to conversem sufficiently for ceremonial intercourse, in the current Hindostani lanuage..... This is the construction, in the new wing of Osborne House, East Cowes, the Queen's favourite residence in the Isle of Wight, of a beautifal apartment, decoreated according to ancient Hindu and Sikh patterns of ornament, to be used as a 'Durbar' or hall of state and Court receptions, upon occasions particularly concerning Asiatic guest of her Majesty. The work, at the Queen's private expensem was preformed during the years 1891 and 1892, under the personal superintendence of the designer, Ram Singh, a native of the Punab, formerly a pupil of Mr. Kipling, C.I.E. - father of the popular novelist, Rudyard Kipling - in the Mayo School of Art at Lahore. It was the Duke of Connaught, when his Royal Highness was in Indiam who appreciated the merits of Ram Singh amd recommedned him to the Queen for this employment, before which that ingenious and tasteful native artist a master of architectural decoration, wood-carving, and cabinet- work- had achieved high success with his designs for the Chiefs' College at Lahore, the Lahore Jubilee Museum, and te Municipal Halls of Ferozepur and Allahabadm winning the prozes and preference in open competitions. He also designed caskets, of ebony and silver, for presentation to the Queen and to the Duke of Connaught and furnished the decorations of the billiard - room and corridor in the mansion of his Royal Highness at Bagshot Park. We there fore willingly, in the belief that much is to be learned from India, as, indeed, has been already confessef, in these branches of ornamental art, give portrait of Ram Singh, together with a view of the interior of the Durbar Hall at Osborne.
The city of Amristar, where Ram Singh got his early training as a workman, is a great centre of trade, as well as the orginal headquarters of the Sikh national and religious community in the Punjab. Many of its houses are ornamentd internally with the finest wood carvings, an art which has been practised by Indian workmen almost to an equal degree of manual skill with those of China and Japan, and with far better notions of richness and magnificence of effect, gracefulness of design, and the artistic treatment of surface reliefs. The ancient Hindu temples were probably unequalled in the beauty of the elaborate sandal-wood carvings on their ceilings and doors, of which the existing gates of the Sommanth temple are only a copy; these were carried off to Ghuzni, in 1024, by the Moslem conqueror, Sultan Mahmoud, and were recovered and brought to Agra by Lord Ellenborough, in 1842, after the first Afgan war. - 12/8/1893

 

 

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