Silver Dinning set with Indian motifs gifted to Arthur Wellesley on display in the UK!

 Whenever there is a public  auction on famous and artistic Indian jewelry or artifacts or gem stones by the famous auction houses Sotheby or Christie's, it will become the talk of the town and the English aristocrats  and  others (with a bag full of  bills/currency notes!!) will make a bee line  to the place of auction  to try their luck to get them. An opportunity for the rich English people to get out of their home and be free from mundane stuff. 

silver dinner set gifted to Arthur Wellesley,

silver dinner set gifted to Arthur Wellesley,

Above image: The ornate silver dinner set on display at Apsley House, London. Gifted to  Arthur Wellesley, who had spent eight years (1797-1805) in India and led the colonial army against Tipu Sultan and the Marathas  in the late 18th and early 19th centuries (HT Photo). Elephant-themed dinner service was from the Deccan region...................................

A fine sheathed sword gifted to Arthur Wellesley in India. 

In  April 2019 it was not a publicized  auction of  Indian  Maharajah's or Nizam's  fancy dazzling  gold jewelry or diamonds and instead it was a display of  cutlery, etc., with amazing  Indian motifs.  The place of venue was Apsley House, the London townhouse of the Dukes of Wellington.

Apsley House, London interior.

Apsley House, former  home of Arthur

Apsley House, London

Above image: Apsley House in Hyde Park Corner, London, former home of Arthur Wellesley,  First  Duke of Wellington and victor of Waterloo (1815). His troop was responsible for the victory against Tipu Sultan at Srirangapatma in 1799.  Built by Robert Adam in the 1770, the house was bought by Arthur  in 1815.  He tuned it into an  impressive palatial  house worthy  of his status. In 1796  Wellesley received orders to sail to India to serve  East India Co; then he was barely 27 years old.  Arthur resided here for 35 long years . Though  his descendants occupy part of the house,  many stately rooms are open to public to get to know the man of past era. The house is now run by English Heritage and is open to the public as a museum and art gallery, exhibiting the Wellington Collection, a large collection of paintings, other artworks and memorabilia of the career of the 1st Duke. The 9th Duke of Wellington retains the use of part of the buildings  ...............

On display  for the first time ever were silver cutlery adorned with elephants and other motifs presented to Arthur Wellesley. Apsley House,  is not new to the display of a  range of items associated with  Wellesley' long stay  in India .  A  connoisseur  of arts, he meticulously collected various art work or artifacts of good workmanship. 

Particularly his victory over mighty  Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 won him laurels. A little  known fact is  he gained essential  experience in warfare and military strategies during his long stay in the Indian subcontinent.   In the early 1800s  he could not subdue  a great warrior, administrator and local ruler  Pazhassi  Raja of Waynad  of Kerala, however, he gained a lot from  his battles in Kerala and later  from the final Angelo-Mysore war and his campaign against the Marathas in the Deccan in the early part of 1800s

The highlight of the display   was the fascinating  Deccan  dinner set  spread over a banqueting table in the Waterloo Gallery.  This  'thank you'  gift was presented to Arthur   as a mark of appreciation  by his fellow officers who had fought along with him in the Deccan region (against the Martha Peshwas). The money  for the dinner set was raised by them  who initially,  wanted to present a gold vase, but the money raised  was insufficient; so they chose elephant-themed silver dinner service befitting  his stature.

Apart from the ornate dinner set, the display items included many personal items duke collected or received in India such as  several books that Col. Wellesley,  carried with him to learn about India during his long voyage to colonial Calcutta; a sword presented to him in Calcutta and also an array of  jewelry, ceramics and a book linked to Tipu Sultan of Mysore.

Apsley House, London

His travelling library included  200 volumes mostly purchased by him.  ''The original handwritten list of the books he bought in London is on display. His collection included Jonathan Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ and ‘A View of the English Interests in India’ by William Fullarton, besides volumes on Indian history, politics and economics''.

The present duke residing in the former Arthur's home   is of the opinion that  this show will bring in more people to this heritage house and despite its  location in Hyde Park Corner, it is still a rather under visited house. Lots of people who go  past this house blissfully unaware of what  is inside the house - vast collections made by Wellesley himself.

Said the current duke, ''India made his name and he learned  a lot the importance of the supply  chain and getting on well  with the local population, All his led to his success in the Peninsular war''