Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj


Vidya Dehejia
2008. Mapin Publishing
219 colour photographs
Hardcover, 30 cm x 25 cm, 224 pages
ISBN 9780944142431 


Delight in Design is a richly illustrated volume that focuses on the remarkable ornamented silverware produced by Indian craftsmen during the period of the British Raj. Silversmiths created elegant silver tea services, bowls, wine and water ewers, beer mugs, and goblets to adorn the sideboard or mantelpiece in a British Raj home, creating European forms fulfilling European requirements.

These same silversmiths then adopted a unique manner of embellishing these objects with a variety of different motifs that reflect local taste and carry a recognizably local pattern.

This book carries a set of five essays that explore different facets of the production and consumption of Indian silver for the Raj. It considers the silverware in terms of its clearly distinguishable regional styles, which is prefaced by two thematic sections, one on calling card cases and the other on tea services, which demonstrate its wide prevalence. The visual presentation of the silverware does justice to it dazzling quality.

Table of Contents

Whose Taste? Colonial Design, International Exhibitions, and Indian Silver
‘Designs to Suit Every Taste:’ P. Orr & Sons and  Swami Silverware
A Cache Uncovered : Workshop Drawings of Oomersee Mawjee & Sons of Kutch
‘A House of Wonder:’ Silver at the Delhi Durbar Exhibition of 1903
Testimonial Plate : Swashbuckling Silver

About the Author

Vidya Dehejia holds the Barbara Stoler Miller Chair in Indian Art at Columbia University, New York.

With contributions from Wynyard Wilkinson is the author of four books on silver. Yuthika Sharma and Dipti Khera are doctoral candidates in the Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University, New York.


“Deeply researched, engagingly written, handsomely produced, it focuses on the amazing silverware produced by Indian craftsmen for a European clientele during the British Raj.” —Holland Cotter, New York Times

Weight 1700 g
Dimensions 30.2 × 25 × 2 cm

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