Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala (1891-1938) was born at Moti Bagh Palace and educated at Aitchison College. On the death of his father, Maharaja Rajinder Singh, on 9 November 1900 he succeeded as Maharaja of Patiala, though a Council of Regency ruled in his name until he took partial powers shortly before his 18th birthday on 1 October 1909, and was invested with full powers by the Viceroy of India, the 4th Earl of Minto, on 3 November 1910.
Singh was actively involved in Indian politics and in representing India on the world stage, for example serving on the General Staff in France, Belgium, Italy and Palestine in the First World War as an Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel, later being promoted Honorary Major-General in 1918 and Honorary Lieutenant-General in 1931. He also represented India at the League of Nations in 1925, and was chancellor of the Indian Chamber of Princes for 10 years from 1926 until his death in 1938. He married ten times, having had 88 children by his wives and concubines.
This extensive service gives an insight into the lavish lifestyle of the Maharaja. His wealth and status was such that he was the first man in India to own an aircraft, for which the Patiala Aviation Club was founded. He and his wife patronised some of the leading makers in the world, such as Cartier, whom they commissioned to mount the De Beers diamond as the centrepiece of the magnificent 'Patiala Necklace'. Singh was also an avid and early motorcar enthusiast, indeed legend has it that he would travel in a motorcade of 20 Rolls Royces, however in 1930 he had a falling out with Rolls Royce who he felt slighted him by refusing to accept an order. Such was his power and influence in India that a campaign by him forced the Viceroy to pressure Rolls Royce to change their decision.
Singh was also an avid and talented cricketer, with him acting as captain of the Indian cricket team that visited England 1911 and again in 1932, although he was forced to drop out of the second tour for health reasons.
Edward, Prince of Wales' Visit to Patiala
The Prince travelled to Patiala by train arriving at 8.30 am on the morning of the 22nd February. He was met by the Maharaja and a large reception party, the royal suite was then escorted by the State cavalry to the Moti Bagh Palace through streets lined with people. The Times report at the time commented on the scene, '...the road, with its lavish decorations, its elephants, and its gaily dressed throngs, was most picturesque.' On his arrival at the palace the Prince reviewed the troops and then, accompanied by the Maharaja, ventured out on his horse into the huge crowd which included some 10,000 former soldiers who had served in the First World War. This part of the Prince's tour was partly intended as a restful time for the Prince and after the review there was no official timetable. The Maharaja entertained the Prince with polo matches, pig-sticking, and shooting. The dinners were small and the dances informal. Only on the last evening was a large event held. The State Banquet for 200 people, for which this dinner service was commissioned, was a lavish send off for the Royal guest who departed for Lahore by train at 11.00 that evening following the dinner.
THE MAHARAJA OF PATIALA'S BANQUETING-SERVICE AN EXTENSIVE GEORGE V SILVER-GILT DINNER-SERVICE
THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
early 20th Century, All other categories of objects, decorative tableware & centre pieces, silver, England, Victorian
EUROPEAN FURNITURE & WORKS OF ART
the stand 45 in. (114.5 cm.) wide 710 oz. (22,103 gr.) 26 in. (66 cm.) high gross weight 883 oz. (27,470 gr.) With lion's mask-capped handles, the detachable covers with quatrefoil ogee loop handles, marked under base, on handle and on cover bezel 17¾ in. (45 cm.) wide over handles 306 oz. (9,522 gr.) 21½ in. (55 cm.) wide and slightly smaller 313 oz. (9,742 gr.) 10½ in. (26.5 cm.) diam. 149 oz. (4,633 gr.) 14½ in. (37 cm.) wide 145 oz. (4,504 gr.) 14¾ in. (37.5 cm.) wide 67 oz. (2,075 gr.) 14 in. (35.5 cm.) wide 158 oz. (4,900 gr.) 10¼ in. (26 cm.) wide 131 oz. (4086 gr.) 8 in. (20.5 cm.) wide 460 oz. (14,293 gr.) 12 in. (30.6 cm.) wide over handles 677 oz. (21,069 gr.) 12½ in. (31.5 cm.) wide 353 oz. (10,981 gr.) 9½ in. (24 cm.) diam. 725 oz. (22,542 gr.) 8¼ in. (21 cm.) diam. 1,840 oz. (57,239 gr.) 9¾ in. (24.5 cm.) diam. 3,575 oz. (110,194 gr.) 19½ in. (50 cm.) wide 359 oz. (11,149 gr.) 18 in. (45.6 cm.) wide 743 oz. (23,123 gr.) 15½ in. (39.2 cm.) wide 266 oz. (8,271 gr.) 26 in. (66 cm.) wide 429 oz. (13,328 gr.) 14¼ in. (36 cm.) diam. 314 oz. (9,760 gr.) 18¾ in. (47.7 cm.) diam. 312 oz. (7,718 gr.) 14¾ in. (37 cm.) wide 345 oz. (10,729 gr.) 9¾ in. (24.8 cm.) high gross weight 86 oz. (2,682 gr.) 10 in. (25.3 cm.) high 82 oz. (2,548 gr.) 7½ in. (19 cm.) wide over handles 39 oz. (1,208 gr.) 4 1/8 in. (10.4 cm.) high 148 oz. (4,580 gr.) 3 1/8 in. (8 cm.) diam. 103 oz. (3,308 gr.) 4¾ in. (12 cm.) high 54 oz. (1,671 gr.) 4 5/8 in. (11.6 cm.) diam. 311 oz. (9,658 gr.) 7¼ in. (18.5 cm) high 58 oz. (1,790 gr.) 8½ in. (21 cm.) wide 44 oz. (1,373 gr.) 7½ in. (19 cm.) wide 79 oz. (2,456 gr.) total weighable silver 15,547 oz. (482,572 gr.)
J. Culme, The Directory of Gold and Silversmiths Jewellers and Allied Traders 1838-1914, From the London Assay Office Registers, Woodbridge, 1987, vol. I, p. 184.
Commissioned by the Maharaja of Patiala in honour of a tour of India by Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII and Duke of Windsor, in 1922 and used at the State Banquet held in the Prince's honour on 24 February 1922.
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala (1891-1938).
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, Belgravia, 15 December 1977, lot 256.
Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.