C19th Punjab Arts and Crafts Octagonal Folding Table
An Anglo-Indian octagonal folding occasional table in Padouk wood, the top profusely relief carved with stylised floral imagery centered with a lily pad, each of the sides with conforming pierced and relief carving above a Moorish arch; this is a really marvellous example, which relates closely to the furniture and interiors made for Bagshot Park, all in original condition and of good colour, ‘of Indian design adapted to European comforts’.
A recent exhibition held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington ‘Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London’ is particularly relevant as it focusses on the craftsmanship of India whilst also evoking the Arts and Crafts values and designs produced by the likes of William Morris (1834 – 1896).
Kipling used the Bagshot Park commission to promote Punjabi wood-carving, as practiced by his students at the Mayo School and woodcarving was one of the key crafts Kipling advocated; this royal commission was a means to showcase the standard of the design and execution of woodwork by the School. Ram Singh, a Master at the Mayo School, also made designs and drawings for the wood panelling that still decorates the billiard room at Bagshot Park.
The fusion of British and Indian imagery within an Arts and Crafts design aesthetic also inspired Queen Victoria to commission her own Indian-style ‘Durbar Hall’ at her summer house, Osborne on the Isle of Wight, despite never having travelled to India. Kipling and Ram Singh designed this room using similar imagery.