LV [Lakshmi Vilas] Palace, Front View, West [Vadodara]
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Lakshmi Vilas Palace, at Baroda, Gujarat from the Curzon Collection, taken by an unknown photographer during the 1890s. An immense structure, it was built for the Gaekwar Sayaji Rao III (ruled 1875-1939) and was reputedly the most expensive private building erected in India in the 19th century. This is a general view of the west facade. Originally designed by Major Charles Mant (1840-81) in an exuberant Indo-Saracenic style, it was begun in 1878 and completed in 1890 after his death by Robert Fellowes Chisholm (1840-1915). Both architects were pioneers of the orientalist style, which combined Western and Eastern architectural forms, particularly arches and domes. The skyline of the palace is a fantastical mixture of bangla eaves, chhatris, a tall tower and a central cupola. In creating a modern palace, Mant retained the traditional division of an Indian palace into three sections but arrayed them in three blocks along the main axis of the building. The Durbar Hall is at the left, the Maharaja's residence in the centre and the zenana or women’s apartments at the right.