[ecis2016.org] The Marble Palace in north Kolkata is built with 126 types of marbles, chosen from various parts of the country
The Marble Palace in north Kolkata dates back to the 19th century. It is one of the best-preserved and most appealing residences in Kolkata, famous for its sculptures, artwork, floors and marble walls, from which it derives its name. The Palace is situated at 46, Muktaram Babu Street with the pin code being Kolkata-700007. The Marble Palace sports the neoclassical architectural style. The present value of this palatial mansion property would run into several crores, taking its priceless artefacts, architecture and cultural significance into account.
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Marble Palace history
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The house was constructed by wealthy Bengali merchant Raja Rajendra Mullick in 1835. He had a passion for collecting precious artwork. The house is still occupied by his descendants. Raja Rajendra Mullick Bahadur was the adopted son of the famous Nilmoni Mullick who built the Jagannath Temple, which dates back even earlier than the Marble Palace. It still exists within the Marble Palace’s premises while being accessible solely for family members.
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The neoclassical architectural style of the Marble Palace encompasses open courtyards, which is a traditional touch in Bengal. Next to the courtyard, there is the Thakur-Dalan where the family deity is worshipped. The three-storied building has tall Corinthian pillars, along with beautifully ornamented verandahs, complete with sloping roofs and fretwork alike. It has been built much in the style of a Chinese pavilion, as per some experts. There is a sprawling garden within the estate, with a rock garden, lawns, a small zoo and a lake.
Marble Palace paintings
The Marble Palace is home to numerous western-era sculptures and other pieces of Victorian furniture, along with paintings crafted by Indian and European artists in tandem with various artefacts. Decorative objects abound, including mirrors, urns, royal busts, clocks, massive chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling mirrors. The house reportedly has two paintings by Peter Paul Rubens including The Marriage of St Catherine and also The Martyrdom of St Sebastian. There are reportedly two paintings done by Sir Joshua Reynolds, namely The Infant Hercules Strangling the Serpent and also Venus and Cupid. Other artists in the collection include John Opie, Titian and Bartolome Esteban Murillo. There are priceless artworks and other sculptures jostling with several little objects of comparatively lesser value. You will be surprised to know that the noted French novel Le Vol Des Cigognes De Jean-Christophe Grangé, is set within the Marble Palace.
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Marble Palace Kolkata timing and entry fee
The Marble Palace is still largely a private dwelling and hence photography is not allowed. Although there is no Marble Palace entry fee, permits should be obtained in advance from the West Bengal Tourism Information Bureau. There are guides within the house who will help with tours, although several parts remain out of bounds. There are lawns surrounding the imposing structure along with fountains and the private Marble Palace zoo.
Marble Palace architecture
- The house is built with 126 types of marble, chosen from various parts of the country.
- The palace has five halls, namely the Painting Room, Reception Hall, Thakur Dalan (place of worship), Sculpture Room and the Billiards Room.
- The intricate carvings on the marble flooring, walls and pillars bear similarity with the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
- The huge corridors are decked with Victorian-era furniture, chandeliers, portraits and sculptures galore.
- There are also sculptures of Homer to Diana, Venus to Apollo, Praxiteles to Phidias and Homer to Mosses. Belgian glassware and game trophies are some of the prized possessions, showcased here.
- The music room has a luxurious marble inlay floor with statues of Wellington and Napoleon while the ballroom still has candle chandeliers along with silvered glass balls from the original 19th century disco ball collection.
- The palace has 76 rare pieces of art purchased and shipped in 1830 from Italy and Belgium. There is a huge Japanese bronze vase in the doorway and the full-length Belgian glass mirrors along the walls create fascinating illusions of more space.
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- The two-cornered biocome may have belonged to none other than Napoleon Bonaparte, which he wore during one of his military quests.
- The painting room has dimmer lighting with several originals by famous painters of the day. The art pieces are lavish and simply priceless in today’s day and age.
- The lush green lawns have several statues of gods from every religion and faith along with some exotic animals, as well.
- The fountain is also made of marble and lies at the center of the lawn with its famous statue of Leda and the Swan.
Where is Marble Palace located?
Marble Palace is located at Muktaram Babu Street in north Kolkata.
Who built Marble Palace?
Raja Rajendra Mullick built the Marble Palace in 1835.
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Why is it named Marble Palace?
The building is named Marble Palace since it is crafted from 126 types of marbles.
(Header image source Wikimedia Commons)
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