Jul 4, 2010

Laxmi Vilas Palace, Baroda - 1890

Photograph of the Lakshmi Vilas Palace, at Baroda in Gujarat, from Lee-Warner Collection: 'Baroda views and buildings, c.1890' taken by an unknown photographer. A colossal structure, it was built for the Gaekwar Sayaji Rao III (r.1875-1939) and was reputedly the most expensive building erected by a private individual in the 19th century. This is a general view of the west facade shortly after completion, with landscaped gardens in the foreground. Originally designed by Major Charles Mant (1840-81) in an exuberant Indo-Saracenic architectural style, it was begun in 1878 and completed after his death in 1890 by Robert Fellowes Chisholm (1840-1915). Both architects were pioneers of the Orientalist style, which combined western and eastern forms, particularly arches and domes. The skyline of the palace is a fantastical mixture of bangaldar eaves, chhatris, a tall tower and a central cupola. In creating a modern palace, Mant retained the traditional division of an Indian palace into three sections but arrayed them in three blocks along the main axis of the building. The Durbar Hall is at the left, the Maharaja's residence in the centre and the zenana or women’s apartments at the right.