HindustanTimes Mon,24 Nov 2014

Patiala King’s cutlery to be auctioned today

Dipankar De Sarkar , Hindustan Times  London, July 03, 2013
First Published: 00:49 IST(3/7/2013) | Last Updated: 00:59 IST(3/7/2013)

You can literally dine like a Maharaja now, but it will come at a price. A 1,400-piece dinner set that was owned by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala will go on the block on Thursday.

It is expected to fetch up to £1.5m (Rs 13 crore).

Weighing nearly 500 kg, the ostentatious silver-gilt dinner set was especially commissioned for a visit to Patiala by the Prince of Wales, who later became King Edward VIII in 1922.

The London auction house Christie’s, which describes the dinner set as “extensive”, says it is being sold by ‘a gentleman’ as part of his annual ‘Exceptional Sale.’

The extravagant cutlery nearly matches the 2,000-piece banqueting service that is laid out by the British monarch for state dinners at the Windsor castle — ssomething that would have pleased Bhupinder Singh enormously.

A legendary host on the European social circuit and the first man to own an aircraft, Singh loved to show off his wealth.

“This extensive service gives an insight into the lavish lifestyle of the Maharaja,” said a spokeswoman for Christie’s.

During the 1922 visit, the Maharaja entertained the Prince with polo matches, pig-sticking and shooting during the day, followed by small dinners and informal dances.

Bhupinder Singh kept the best for the last, laying out the dinner set at a state banquet for 200 guests on the last evening to give the Prince a lavish send-off at 11 pm.

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