Amin Jaffer, international director of Asian art at Christie’s, has spent a lifetime studying the lifestyles of India’s once rich and famous. His books depict lives and worlds of sumptuous wealth, audacious tastes, and path-breaking design innovations.
Dream theatre: Silver bed, with life-size nudes, made for the Nawab of Bahawalpur by Christofle in 1882.
While many maharajas and their retinues were happy to commission quintessentially Western objects, others sought to meld their own tastes with Western craftsmanship. For Jaffer, the result has been books full of spectacle. We asked him to dip into his years of experience and pick out what he thinks are some of the greatest objects ever commissioned by the maharajas.