Like the Government Houses of British territories, the early seats of British power at the courts of indigenous rulers - such as the Residencies of Lucknow, Hyderabad and Bangalore - were modelled on the 'stately home' to which the gentleman Resident would have been accustomed in Britain. Many European merchants aped such works, often on a lavish scale quite out of proportion with their status at home.
In Calcutta and Madras such are the mansions and club houses of Chowringhi and Adyar, respectively, with their high ceilings and verandahs. Native merchants went even further with their houses. Most spectacular by far, is the Zimindari Mullick's 'Marble Palace' in Calcutta, with its astonishing classical interpretation of diwan and court.
Architecture of Princely homes and palaces: On a still larger and often even coarser scale native rulers adopted western palace types in whole or in part, with state rooms incorporating antechambers, salons, banqueting halls and vast saloon-like durbar halls, designed to cater for Westernized manners and European guests.
It was certainly not lost upon the 'Model Prince' that European building types could be interpreted in a wide diversity of western, eastern and hybrid styles and at their service the fecundity of the Anglo-Indian imagination was to know no bounds.
Notable examples of princely residences in styles derived from the repertory of Italianate Classicism range from the 'Palladian' Faluknama of Hyderabad, taken over from a nobleman and expanded by the Nizam in the last decades of the century - which belongs to the type represented by Government House Triplicane - to the Neo-High Renaissance palace of Cooch Behar and the Neo-Baroque one at Panna.
Most notorious is the Jal Vilas commissioned by the Maharaja of Gwalior from Lieutenant Colonel Sir Michael Filose, Indian Army, to provide for the visit of the Prince of Wales. With the fantastic 'La Martiniere' not far off at Lucknow to emulate, Filose's achievement was prodigious.
The style might be called 'Venetian High Renaissance', though it hardly recalls the sage deployment of the Venetian motif by Palladio or Sansovino. Rather it suggests the infinite expansion of a Bibiena stage set and to illuminate the prince's visit the durbar hall required the largest pair of chandeliers ever made.
Copyright ©2000 indiansaga.info. All rights reserved.
By using this service, you accept that you won't copy or use the data given in this website for any commercial purpose.
The material on indiansaga.info is for informational & educational purpose only.
This site is best viewed at 800 X 600 picture resolution.