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Historical model

Historical model

  • Place of origin:

    Uttar Pradesh (made)

  • Date:

    1800-1850 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pietre dure, white marble, inscribed

  • Credit Line:

    The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Collection on loan to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

  • Museum number:

    LOAN:GILBERT.961-2008

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This model of the cenotaph of the Mughal Empress, Mumtaz Mahal (1598-1631) is a virtually exact copy of the original in the Taj Mahal, in Agra, India. It was made in the nineteenth century when numerous finely crafted models of Indian monuments were created for English patrons who wanted a memento of the their service in, or trip to, India. The marble was quarried in the Macrame mines near Jaipur, Rajasthan, and the hardstones used for the inlay were obtained from various imported and indigenous sources.

The pietre dure technique used for the model was originally taught to Indian artists in the seventeenth century by Florentine craftsmen lured to the Mughal court by accounts of its fabulous riches by returning travellers. A number of Italian artists are known to have worked in India during the period and there are surviving records of trade, royal gifts, and missionary and diplomatic exchanges between the Mughal court and the Medici family of Florence.

Sir Arthur Gilbert and his wife Rosalinde formed one of the world's great decorative art collections, including silver, mosaics, enamelled portrait miniatures and gold boxes. Arthur Gilbert donated his extraordinary collection to Britain in 1996.

Physical description

Model of the cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal, fashioned from a single block of white marble, decorated with pietre dure inlay and inscribed on the sides with verses.

Place of Origin

Uttar Pradesh (made)

Date

1800-1850 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Pietre dure, white marble, inscribed

Dimensions

Length: 21.5 cm, Width: 54.5 cm, Height: 19.1 cm

Object history note

Provenance: Michael and Henrietta Spink, London, 1993.

Descriptive line

Model of the cenotaph of Mumtaz Mahal, fashioned from a single block of white marble, decorated with pietre dure inlay and inscribed on the sides with verses.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Massinelli, Anna Maria with contributions by Jeanette Hanisee Gabriel. Hardstones: The Gilbert Collection. London: Philip Wilson Publishers Ltd. in association with The Gilbert Collection, 2000. 329 p., ill. Cat. no. 90, pp. 205-206. ISBN 0856675105

Materials

Hardstones; White marble

Techniques

Pietre dure; Inlay (process)

Categories

Architecture; Death

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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