05 September 2012

Mighty MAHARAJAS: the book, the colors

I get the most beautiful books- So many books So little time-and why? I am a book person.
New, Old,
Oversize, Miniature...
you get the picture. I look-I read-read-read and oft times I think why? do we need it? what is its relevance?

A recent book came my way and I was immediately struck by the beauty of the book-of course, but also the beauty of Color-its relevance in Our Lives today. The colors of Mighty MAHARAJAS.

It is a trip I would love to take-INDIA.This book, Mighty Maharajas, is an in-depth look at its forts and palaces written by Amita Baig and photographed by Joginder Singh.We get up-close glimpses of the fortresses that protected-sheltered-lavished- its walls on the Maharaja and his court. Baig writes... "for over 4,000 years, India has withstood social, political & religious turmoil, each era contributing to the spectacle of empire, testimonial of wealth & power each building a fortification against the enemy." The book gives me some resolution for the moment-but stirs the senses to go there, the best a book can do.

Delving deeper, the COLORS of the Maharajas palaces are a lesson in harmony, strength-drama. We often look at Color FLATLY. By this I mean-as a solid sheet, a paint chip that means little- with nothing effecting It. As we know-Color takes its cues from a beam of sunshine, a cloud, a shadow, the dimming of the day. All day the Colors of a room change & with time Color mellows and these are the perfected Colors we see in Baig and Sigh's Mighty Maharajas.

All of these Colors are best when mellowed with age. Consider when painting walls the Color of your hearts desire-(read-don't paint-and paint again-and again).
Yes, Color is easy to achieve-as most magazines say-an easy Fix, but when you are sure-DO hire a skilled painter to nuance the color. See any of the Joginder Singh photographs to understand what is meant by nuance-the Color speaks for itself.

Extracting colors from the book, I turned to Farrow & Ball. Their Collection is easily matched with the colors of the Maharajas.

Mighty Maharaja Color-Past, Present & Future. Sultans, Pucci,Poynter and Farrow & Ball.

for another look at Vendome Press, flip through some of the pages & get the book here
images from this post used with permission of Vendome Press, all photographs from Mighty Maharajas by Joginder Singh.

a List of Images all by Singh
Detail of a carved stone window in the Diwan-e-Aam
2 & 3,book page & Cover
Bhim Vilas
Carving on the walls of the Abileshwari Temple complex
Detail of a carved stone window in the Diwan-e-Aam
Pillared hallway leading to Amba Vilas
The Verandah of the palace Ramnagar overlooks a temple and the Ganga
Interior of the Chitra Shala at Taragarb Fort
book page

 Farrow & Ball paints- 
l to r,  top row. Mizzle, Arsenic, Porphyry Pink
middle row. Blue Ground, Terre de Egypt, Lulworth Blue
bottom row: Stony Ground, Ointment Pink, Vert de Terre



  1. What an incredibly beautiful book, one I could easily get lost in. I can also see how a decorator would be inspired by those colors, although I am not sure if so much opulence would be desirable.

    Your point about nuanced colors is well taken. In Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House, they make fun of precise color selection (remember Mr. PeDelford?), but good painters really know how to create a rich and sophisticated color look.

    --Road to Parnassus

  2. Love the addition of the farrow & ball colors - great idea!

  3. Thank you for another inspiring post, and the introduction to a book I had missed......the colors make your heart race.
    I love the F&B comparisons.

  4. Great Post. Color determines so much of what we experience in life--but choosing just the right color is the hardest task of all. Thanks. Mary

  5. I love and am so intrigued by middle eastern and Indian architecture and design! I love all of this , must get the book!
    Thank you for sharing.
    THe Relished Roost

  6. What a magnificent book!! India is #1 on my travel wish list.I could easily live with all that colour. The grey and beige interiors I see in some blogs lack imagination.
    This post is inspiring!

  7. Overlooking the ocean...my bedroom is Vert de Terre, guest room is Stony Ground, Office is Blue Ground, living room is Parma Gray, and dining room is Mouse's Back.

    In the city, the powder room is lined in vintage jade green and black tile trim - so Arsenic IS perfect. GOLDEN LAUGHTER by Pratt & Lambert sings beautifully in the Drawing Room with views onto the gardens.

    Colors bring so many Dreams into a Room!

  8. Oh! well, you know this is right up my alley...and Gaye, your incorporation of the Farrow & Ball colours is brilliant. These places, Singh's photographs, and your post is ravishing and seductive.

  9. I've been obsessing over this type of ornament lately after seeing the amazing Maharaja show at the Asian Art Museum here. This post is fabulous. WOW...! thank you!



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