Wadiyar Rolls, Tipu pendant to be auctioned
A Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost once owned by the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore, and a rare gem-set gold pendant from Tipu Sultan are going under the hammer here next month.
The gem-set from the treasury of Tipu Sultan is expected to go for between £80,000 and £1,20,000.
The luxury limousine, once used by Wadiyar as ceremonial car from 1911 will be auctioned at the Bonhams here on September 16. Of all the buyers of the model, the Indian princes owned most of the Silver Ghosts produced between 1920 and 1926. They prized the quality of the Rolls-Royce and its ability to withstand the difficult road conditions in India.
The limousine was ordered for the Delhi Durbar celebration of the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary in December 1911 at the event that included spectacular displays of Indian pageantry, and many cars were purchased to provide transport for the honoured guests and the rulers themselves.
The Silver Ghost was emblazoned with the coat of arms of the Maharaja of Mysore, to whom it passed after the Delhi Durbar.
The gold pendant of Tipu Sultan, one of the very few pieces to have survived from the treasury of legendary Indian ruler, is among the star lots in the sale of the contents of the peer and traveller Lord Glenconner’s St Lucian home at Bonhams in London on September 28.
The gold pendant is set with a 38-carat emerald surrounded by nine precious stones including topaz, blue sapphire, ruby, diamond and pearl. It is one of the very few pieces of jewellery from the fabulous treasury of the ‘Tiger of Mysore’ to have survived in its original setting.
Tipu Sultan, who ruled Mysore in the late 18th century, is known for his stoic and ferocious opposition to the extension of British rule. Tipu’s Treasury —which was stuffed with jewels, gold arms and fine cloth—was dispersed after his eventual defeat and death in the siege of Srirangapatnam in 1799.
The British victory was followed by extensive looting as well as a more orderly division of the spoils and the pendant ended up in the possession of a Major in the British army named Harris who brought it to England.
Other major items in the Glenconner sale include a rare 18th century South Indian carved emerald figurine estimated at £40,000-£60,000, a late Mughal inscribed emerald bearing the name of Prasanna Coomar Tago from 1826 estimated at £25,000-£35,000 and an impressive North Indian 19th century silver sheet-covered wood tester bed estimated at £15,000-£20,000.