English Prince Albert and fascinating Indian gifts worthy of him - 1875 01

.Statue of King Edward VII, Bangalore, India en. wikipedia.org

The eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, EdwardVII (Albert Edward; 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910. Before ascending the throne, he held  the title of Prince of Wales for longer than any of his predecessors. When his mother Victoria was the queen, he was kept away from the political involvement and he  enjoyed the trapping of a royal life, personifying the fashionable life of a British elite at the highest strata of the society and at the same time performing unavoidable ceremonial public duties. As a prominent royal member, he traveled across England and also abroad. His  royal tours of North America in 1860 and the Indian subcontinent in 1875 won him good name.  That he is a sucker for dames got a bad rap and  became a subject of media scoop.  However, his romantic liaisons  with wrong ladies made his mother  quite unhappy.  

As the ruler of Britain, Edward VII got a good name and brought about many administrative changes. His successful period Edwardian Era coincided with the discovery of steam engine and rise of socialism. He not only modenized the British Army, but also reorganized it. Unlike his predecessors, he improved the relationship with France. Further, he wanted to maintain his social contact by way of re instituting  traditional royal ceremonies as public displays. He died in 1910. 

In October 1875 Edward set off for India on an extensive eight-month tour of the sub-continent. He boarded HMS Serapis and made a passage to India. This would give the heir apparent to learn more about the Indian subcontinent  its  people that he  was going to rule  one day.

On this four-month trip, the prince visited many places across the Indian subcontinent using  boat, rail, carriage and elephant.  He  covered  more than 21 towns and cities in modern-day India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka and was the guest of honor at more than 90 royal courts. 

An interesting aspect of this tour is, in compliance with the  Indian protocol, each  ruler - Maharajah or Nawob had to present him with valuable gifts  worthy of his royal title  and  status as a foremost member of the British ruling class. The elaborate gifts covered a variety of items  from gold jewelry to weaponry, ceremonial objects to  small curios.  In total prince of Wales received more than 2,000 of them  from the Indian elite rulers. – the finest examples of Indian workmanship, design and artistic works native to the respective regions. Now they form the most important Indian artifacts of historical value in the Royal Collections.   The tour was undertaken when Lord Northbrook was the Viceroy of India. The gifts  given to the royal member were well planed, meticulously fashioned and executed.

His advisors remarked on his habit of treating all people the same, regardless of their social status or color. In letters home, he complained of the treatment of the native Indians by the British officials: “Because a man has a black face and a different religion from our own, there is no reason why he should be treated as a brute.”

Prince Edward  returned to England on 11 May 1876, after a stop-over in Portugal.  At the end of the tour, Queen Victoria was given the  new title Empress of India by Parliament, in part as a result of the tour's success.

Below are presented some of the valuable gifts  presented to Prince Charles on his trip to India in 1875. They were all made with precision and artistry and reflect the  rich splendor of the Indian court. All were made with meticulous care with minute details and they bear testimony to the artistic and technical knowledge of the Indian goldsmiths and artisans.

A selection of them is presented to the public in the form of exhibition across England and other places and the Indian artworks and workmanship have been widely admired by the people for their
unique  design and quality of work. (image credit: thenational.ae/arts).

India. Fly Whisks. thenational.ae/arts

Above image: Pair of morchals (fly whisks)  of peacock feathers, inlaid with diamonds and set with layered bands of gold tinsel.  “Fans like these were used by attendants to fan the ruler and try and keep him cool as India is a hot country. The ruler happened to be the most important person in the room.”
Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

India, ink stand.thenational.ae/arts
Above image: Enameled gold inkstand in the form of a state barge known as the Maurpankhi presented by Ishwari Prasad Narayan Singh, Maharajah of Benares. It comprises 19 pieces including a penknife, two pen nibs and a pair scissors. It mentions  the identity of the presenter and the receiver: a small gold flag is emblazoned with the Benares crest of two fishes, and the mast is inscribed with a dedication to the prince.
 Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

India. Jewelcrusted Crown. thenational.ae/arts

Above image: Enamelled gold and jewel encrusted crown presented by the Taluqdars of Awadh to the Prince of Wales in 1876. Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince's Tour of India 1875-6. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.......

India. Durbar set. henational.ae/arts

 Above image: Service of State or durbar set presented by Chamarajendra Wadiyar X, Maharaja of Mysore. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

India. address casket. www.thenational.ae/arts

Above image: A silver-gilt address casket made by Edinburgh-based goldsmiths Marshall and Sons. The casket is engraved with the Prince's name, and decorated with Hindu and zodiac symbols, shamrocks, roses and thistles.
An incongruous gift from Agra, engraved with the prince’s name. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017..................

India. Turban ornament. www.thenational.ae/arts

Above image: A gold and enameled turban ornament (Sirpech) from Udaipur – one of the first gifts the prince received with  three large emeralds bordered by bands of bright red enamel.  Detailed with emeralds, diamonds and pearls. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017..................

India. ornamented dagger. www.thenational.ae/arts

Above image: Ornamented dagger and scabbard, presented by the Maharajah of Alwar. Featuring an enameled and be-jewelled handle and a scabbard, the blade is filled with loose seed pearls. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017........

India .gold articulated fish. www.thenational.ae/arts
Above image: Ornamental gold articulated fish, featuring ruby eyes and an emerald set into the head, presented by Waghji II Rawaji, Thakur Sahib of Morvi. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.........

India. Silver gold scent  holder. thenational.ae/arts

Above image: A silver and gold perfume holder in the form of a lotus bud.  Gift to the Prince of Wales by Jashwant Singh II, Maharajah of Jodhpur;  an attar-dan from Jaipur bowls.  This exquisite perfume holder resembles a lotus flower and sits on a plate enameled with foliage patterns and hunting scenes. It reportedly underwent five firings and took five years to complete.
Courtesy Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.............