Marble Palace, Kolkata: An amalgamation of 126 types of marble in a typical ornate Romanesque veneer is this magnificent and elegant palatial mansion called the Marble Palace which is located at 22°34 55"N 88°21 33"E on Muktaram Babu Street in Kolkata city of West Bengal. The Marble Palace is an exquisite 1835-engineered 3-storeyed building with tall Corinthians and verandah on the sides, built by one of the wealthiest landlords of Bengal – Raja Rajendra Mullick which explains why the Palace architecture is a mix of neoclassical style and typical Bengali open courtyards. From interiors of the Palace - the floors and walls to the tabletops – are all made of Marble. The high, imposing, ornate, iron gates open into the green lawns of the Palace. And the Palace itself is a succession of large halls.
Apart from the architectural masterpiece that it attracts crowds for, The Marble Palace is also famous for the statues of Jesus Christ, The Virgin Mary, some Hindu Gods, Christopher Columbus – the great explorer, Lord Buddha and some lions that are erected in the lush green lawns of the Palace. The Marble Palace is an antique-lover’s dream and you will discover why…in what will follow.
A great connoisseur of art and an ardent collector of antiques that Raja Rajendra Mullick was, his sizeable and tasty collections are showcased in an outstanding Art Gallery of the Marble Palace. The collections include objects of art, European antiques, ceiling mirrors, urns, and busts of kings and queens beautiful chandeliers, sculptures (Apollo, Fauna and Flora), photos, Venetian Glass, blue China ceramic vases, oil paintings ( Venus de Medici and Venus with Cupid among other masterpieces), antique furniture, candle stands made of marble and Belgian glass, and pianos that Mullick collected from Italy, the Netherlands, England and other Europeans countries. The flooring of the music room is made of a multicolored marble inlay on a giant scale is a lavish display of opulence, marble and pianos and is the most visited room in the Palace.
On display are masterpieces of Jan Josephszoon van Goyen – a Dutch landscape painter of the 16th Century; Reuben Bussey – a professional painter from Nottingham during the 1800s; of Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn – one of the greatest painters of the Dutch History and the European Art History of the 1600s and of Sir Joshua Reynolds – an 18th century English painter and the founder and first President of the Royal Academy of Arts in London who specialized in portrait-painting.
Rembrandt was popular for his illustrations of scenes from the Bible; portraits of his contemporaries; and self-portraits. Also a part of this collection are paintings of the 17th Century Spanish Baroque Painter - Bartolomé Esteban Murillo; 17th Century English Portrait Painter – John Opie and the great Italian painter - Tiziano Vecelli, also known as Titian. Guercino s Venus and Adonis, Sassoferato s Madonna and Child, and some others by Ravi Varma – a south Indian painter of the 1800s.
Such was the expensive taste for art that Raja Rajendra Mullick acquired some paintings of Van Goyen, Reuben, Reynolds and Rembrandt paintings which are currently on display in the Marble Palace. This is the closest you can get to an original Van Goyen, Reuben, Reynolds and Rembrandt painting unless you’re headed to the Art Galleries in New York, London or in the Netherlands.
Special Attractions of the Palace:
- A room that is decorated with floor-to-ceiling mirrors contains and showcases the prized works of Van Gogh, Reuben, Reynolds and Rembrandt.
- Some of the most expensive and delectable paintings in the world by Van Gogh, Rembrandt and Reuben such as the Catherine s Wedding .
- 82 different types of exquisite antique clocks.
- An ever-flowing, elegant, and intricately carved marble water fountain in the midst of a serene lake on the north-eastern part of the premises.
- The large pool outside the Palace has ducks, peacocks and ostriches.
- Several aviaries have been put up on the grounds around the Palace.
- A rock garden with an impressive statue of Lord Buddha.
The Marble Palace has a rare aspect to it – a private zoo – currently an Aviary which houses a big collection of rare birds from different parts of the world including Pelicans, Hornbills, Toucans, Storks, Cranes, Peacocks, Monkeys and several species of Deer. This zoo is said to be the first established zoo in India in 1854, after the Barrackpore Park Zoo closed down in 1878.