Ivory Picture Frame from the Kingdom of Travancore
The solid ivory frame is decorated with highly-detailed and elaborate three-dimensional carvings of serrated scrollwork, sunflowers, elephants, lions and the goddess Lakshmi. The two elephant carvings on the lower two corners of the frame depict only the elephant’s front legs, head and tusks. The elephant’s legs are represented in a kneeling position as if they are holding up the frame. On the top of the frame, Lakshmi is seated on a lotus flower centrally and is flanked by standing elephants with raised trunks. This intricately carved ivory frame was made in southern India in the Kingdom of Travancore and is marked on the reverse in black laq: ‘The Ivory Art Emporium. Trivandrum’. The Maharaja Uthram Thirunal Marthanda Varma (r. 1847-1860) from The Kingdom of Travancore had commissioned and presented an ivory throne chair to Queen Victoria for the Great Exhibition of 1851. The throne chair was decorated entirely with carved ivory plaques and is housed in Windsor Castle. Queen Victoria’s ivory throne chair shares several similar carving features to this carved picture frame. Most notably, the densely carved depiction of elephants flanking a crest whilst overall combining Indian and European decorative elements. This picture frame may have been made for one of the exhibitions.