This book is definitely on my recommended reading list.
It was a fun read and an excellent resource for images and information for my presentation on 'Jewels of the Maharajas: The Splendor of the Indian Royal Courts'. My talk focused on how Moghul jewelry styles influenced European jewelry design, specifically that of the Art Deco Period.
But what was particularly interesting in the book was the cross cultural exchange that occured between the wealthy Maharajas and the Europeans in terms of design. A select group of sophisticated Maharajas came to appreciate the Art Deco aesthetic and used it in their custom made clothes, yachts, cars, and palaces.
The Umaid Bhawan Palace, built in 1929 for the Maharaja Umaid Singh of Jodhpur and the Manik Bagh Palace, built in 1932 for the Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar, are two superlative examples of Art Deco architecture and interior design in India.
Art Deco Pool at the Umaid Bhawan Palace
Art Deco Streamline Modern Bath at the Umaid Bhawan Palace
The First Modernist Maharaja
Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar II by Bernard de Monvel 1929
Manik Bagh, the Modernist Palace of Holkar built 1930 -1932
Holkar's miminalist structure was filled with amazing furniture and fixtures by European designers Louis Sognot, Charlotte Alix, George Djo-Bourgois or France and the great Eckart Muthesius of Berlin.
Holkar's office at Manik Bagh
I like the fact that these uber wealthy Maharajas brought Modernist design to India through their commissioned Palaces. Today this tradition continues with the world's largest house in Mumbai, built by the Mukesh Ambani, an industrial Moghul worth an estimated $27 Billion.
I wonder, if Holkar were alive today, would he have built something like this 27 story house, with a theater, ballroom, garden, swimming pool, salon, health club, three helipads and an air traffic control station on the roof, requiring 600 in staff?