An ivory throne with a footstool which the Maharaja of Travancore, now Kerala, presented to Queen Victoria in 1850, is on display at an exhibition — Victoria & Albert: Art & Love — currently on at the Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace. Rarely seen in public before, it was last viewed at the 1851 Great Exhibition held in London.
The throne features densely carved ivory plaques that incorporate Indian and European motifs with the conch shell emblem of the Travancore royal family mounted on the crest. It is embossed with gold, diamonds, emeralds and rubies.
While showcasing the carving skills of the local artisans of Travancore with elements and symbols such as lions and elephants from south India, it also sports symbols of heraldry such as unicorns to appeal to western tastes.
In the official portrait marking her ascension as the “Empress of India”, Victoria was shown seated on the throne. The artifact was later kept at Windsor Castle and recently restored.