Indian royal horse carriage to be auctioned

The State Carriage owned by the Maharaja of Mysore, Southern India.
The State Carriage owned by the Maharaja of Mysore, Southern India.

A 187-year-old Indian state carriage that once conveyed the Maharaja of Mysore is to be sold by auction in Britain this month.

Specialist classic vehicle auctioneers, Historics at Brooklands, in Surrey, estimate its auction value at £70,000 to £100,000.

The coach, which dates back to 1825 and is believed to be of British origin, was used for engagements by the maharaja to transport European royalty – including the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII).

The auction house describes the carriage as an extremely rare Indian artifact.

“Given the elegant design and sumptuous detailing, the coach can appropriately be described as a work of art, as indeed can be seen in a wall painting of it at the Mysore Palace Museum in the state of Kamataka, some 90 miles from Bangalore,” the auction house said.

The imposing carriage features an ornately finished cruciform body with a vaulted, domed roof, situated atop double elliptic springs and iron-bound artillery patterned wheels.

The base colour is olive green, embellished with delicate meander boarders, floral and heraldic motifs and the family coat of arms.

Most of the sixteen windows offer drop-down, decorated panels and shutters for privacy.

The interior is upholstered in beige damask and the roof has decorative paintwork, carved border mouldings and finials.

The exterior features two seats that would have been used for servants and courtiers.

The style of the coach is a fusion of Indo-Islamic and European elements. The dome – arguably the most prominent feature of the carriage – owes its roots to Mughal/Islamic architecture.

The coach – one of a significant number of antiques offered by the maharaja in 1974 – was successfully auctioned that year in Australia, and later exhibited at the Fine Art and Antiques Fair in London in 1991.

Bought by its current owner some two years ago, the coach has had some light restoration work.

The carriage will go under the hammer on November 24.


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