This section provide a UK geographical representation of places of particular interest to Anglo-Sikh History.

Osborne House

Queen Victoria's Country Retreat

Osborne House, East Cowes, Isle of Wight

01983 200022

Osborne House was the Countryside Retreat of Queen Victoria for over fifty years until her death in 1901. Here she and her family could be free from state ceremonial. Walk through the private rooms, including the sitting room in which Queen Victoria and Prince Albert worked side by side.

The recently refurbished Darbar Room is considered by many to be the most stunning of the staterooms. Designed and built by a Sikh, Bhai Ram Singh, the room is an excellent example of the Sikh decorative techniques that Bhai Ram Singh was an expert in. A portrait of Ram singh is displayed at the entrance of the room.

Built originally as a state Banqueting Hall, a sense of India as experienced by Queen Victoria is evoked. The awe inspiring Indian design is matched by the display of the exquisite collection of gifts given to Queen Victoria by the Indian People

The exhibition includes interactive screens and film footage showing how the same crafts and skills used in making the gifts are in use today

The fifteen-year-old Duleep Singh was entertained by the Queen and Prince Albert at Osborne in 1854. At the left-hand turn of the corridor is the imposing portrait of the Maharajah, which was commissioned by Queen Victoria from Winterhalter in the same year. Nearby on the left hand wall are three small paintings on porcelain of the Maharajah, his wife Maharani Bamba and their son Victor Albert. Maharajah Duleep Singh spent a lot of time there with his family in later years.

GROSS, Michael 

Sky view

ULVANG, Vegard 
HOLUM, Dianne 
Maharajah Duleep Singh
ULVANG, Vegard 
Bhai Ram Singh
ULVANG, Vegard 
Osborne Front view

The Durbar Room

The Durbar room was constructed in 1890-91 to provide a state banqueting hall, which had been lacking at osborne. previously, major receptions were held in marquees on the lawn.

The name "Durbar" is derived from the indian word meaning both a state reception and the hall within such gatherings were held. The name is appropriate in terms of both the function of the room and its Indian style of architecture, which was popular for a brief period of time towards the end of the nineteenth century. The style was used in the 1880's by Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, for the billiard room at Bagshot Park, the interior of which was carved by Bhai Ram Singh under the supervision of Lockwood Kipling (father of author Rudyard Kipling), who was directed of the Mayo School of Art, Lahore, India.

In 1890 Kipling was asked to submit an Indian design for Osborne and the following year he arrived with Bhai Ram Singh to discuss a scheme with Queen Victoria and Princess Louise- herself an accomplished sculptress. Temporary Indian cotton hangings covered the bare walls until the decoration was completed in 1893.

The deeply coffered (panelles) ceiling is composed of fibrous plaster by G Jackson & Sons of London, taken from moulds produced under supervision of Ram Singh. The walls are enriched with plaster and carton pierre - a type of papier mache common in the late nineteenth century. Every surface is richly embellished from the ceiling to the white walls which are enlivened by teak framing. The decoration includes the Indian symbols of Ganesha - the elephant god of good fortune - over the door near the gallery, a peacock over the chimney-peace. Jacksons had 26 craftsmen working on the chimney-piece and overmantel. Over 500 hours were spent on producing the peacock alone, which was equivalent to one man working solidly for ten weeks.

The original Durbar dining-room furniture was disposed of in 1909


Opening Times:
29 Mar-30 Sept - 10am-6pm daily
Last admission 4pm. House closes 5pm
1 Oct-31 Oct - 10am-5pm daily
Last admission 4pm. House closes 5pm

Admission Charges:
House and Grounds
Grounds Only
- Adult £7.50 - Adult £4.00
- Concession £5.60 - Concession £3.00
- Children £3.80 - Children £2.00
- Family £18.80  

Car and Coach Parking - Free
Children's Play Area - Picnics Welcome - Self Service Cafe - Swiss Cottage Tearoom - Shop with themed gifts and souvenirs - Plant sales - Full colour souvenir guidebook.

Visitors with impaired mobility may have limited access to the ground floor and gardens only, please telephone for details.


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