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Inkstand 1876

Gold, enamel and diamond | 17.5 x 39.3 x 5.7 cm | RCIN 11444

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One memorable journey during the tour was a tranquil boat ride on the Maharaja’s state barge along the River Ganges. The inkstand, modelled on one of the Maharaja’s barges, has nineteen separate components. The stern is shaped as the head of a makara, a mythological creature which is the vahana (mount) of Ganga, the personified Hindu goddess of the River Ganges.


  • Creator(s)

    Indian (nationality)

  • 17.5 x 39.3 x 5.7 cm (whole object)

  • Presented to King Edward VII, when Prince of Wales, during his tour of India in 1875-76 by Ishwari Prasad Narayan Singh, Maharaja of Benares. The Prince of Wales visited Benares on 5 January 1876. After a day of visiting Hindu temples, the Prince travelled on a state barge, similar to this model, to meet the Maharaja of Benares at his palace Ramnagar which overlooks the River Ganges. This inkstand was presented as a memento of this visit.

    When the Prince of Wales returned from his tour of India, he arranged for his gifts from India to be exhibited in ten locations across Britain, and Europe from 1876-83. The gifts were exhibited at the Paris International Exhibition (1878) where the inkstand, as well as the many other enamelled gold gifts that the Prince received in India, was praised for its exquisite design and workmanship. George Birdwood, curator of the India Museum at South Kensington and of the exhibition of the Prince's Indian gifts in Paris, remarked that 'even Paris cannot paint gold with the ruby and coral reds, emerald green, and turquoise and sapphire blues of the enamels of Jaipur, Lahore, Benares and Lucknow'.

    • Science, Medicine and Technology
      • Engineering & Technology
        • Vessels (marine)
          • Boats
            • Barges
    • Natural Sciences & Mathematics
      • Zoology
        • Animals
          • Birds
            • Junglefowl
              • Peafowl
                • Peacocks
          • Reptiles
            • Crocodilia
              • Crocodiles
    • Arts, Recreation, Entertainment & Sport
      • Decorative techniques & surface decoration
        • Floral decorations