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Neg. No: 8562a
Neg. Size: 15"x12"
Neg. Date: 13-10-1920

copyright V&A

Sitter: Colonel HH Shri Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji, Maharaja Jam Saheb of Nawanagar (1872-1933), ruled 1906-1933.

[lower image: hand-coloured pastel
version of same photograph. Not in
V&A archive]

Biog: Colonel H.H. Maharajadhiraj Maharaja Jam Shri Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji Jadeja Bahadur, Maharaja Jam Sahib of Nawanagar, GCSI (2.6.1923, KCSI 1.1.1917), GBE (m 30.12.1919). b. at Sarodar, 10th September 1872, second son of Kumar Shri Jivansinhji Jalamsinhji Jadeja, of Sarodar. Educ. Rajkumar Coll., Rajkot, and Trinity Coll., Cambridge. Adopted as his son and successor by H.H. Maharaja Jam Shri Sir Vibhaji Ranmalsinhji Sahib, 11th December 1878, who subsequently sired a son. Eventually succeeded on the death of his adopted and childless brother, 3rd March 1907 and installed on the gadi, 7th March 1907. Hon Colonel. DGBStJ (28.11.1912). He d. unm. of heart failure at Jamnagar, 2nd April 1933 (succ. by his adopted son).(1)

Date: 13 October 1920.

Occasion: Convalescence trip to London; participation as Indian Representative at the League of Nations in Geneva; reception by King George V, 14 October 1920.

Location: The Lafayette studio, 160 New Bond Street, London.

Descr: TQL.

Costume: -

Jewellery: [Probably] Emerald and diamond necklace, containing 277 carats of first-class emeralds. Emerald in pendant weighs 70 carats and was reputed to have come from the collection of a former Sultan of Turkey.(2)

Orders, Decorations & Medals: Star of a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (G.B.E.), (military division), cr. 3 June 1919.

Furniture & Props: Painted backdrop.

Photographer: Lafayette Ltd., 160 New Bond Street, London.

Evidence of photographer at work: -

All images of sitter:

Maharaja Jam Saheb of Nawanagar Maharaja Jam Saheb of Nawanagar Maharaja Jam Saheb of Nawanagar
Maharaja Jam Saheb of Nawanagar Maharaja Jam Saheb of Nawanagar

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Provenance: Pinewood Studios; acquired 1989.


Biog: Dictionary of National Biography; Who's Who; The Times, 3 April 1933, p 16d; Roland Wild, Biography of Colonel HH Shri Sir Ranjitsinhji, London, 1937; John Lord, The Maharajahs, London, 1972, pp 62-3.

Occasion: The Times, 14 October 1920, p 13a; Roland Wild, op cit, pp 215, 221-230.

Costume: -

Jewellery: Roland Wild, op cit, p 323 (Article "The Nawanagar Jewels" by Jacques Cartier).

Orders, Decorations & Medals: A. Winton Thorpe, ed., Handbook to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, (facsimile edition), London, 1988, pp 381 & 573.

Reproduced: (Cropped) The Times, 3 April 1933, p 18.

Additional Information: -

Acknowledgements: Christopher Buyers

1. "Nawanagar, Sir Ranjitsinhji Vibhaji, Maharaja Jam Sahib of, also called (until 1907) KUMAR SHRI ("Honourable Prince") RANJITSINHJI VIBHAJI (b. Sept. 10, 1872, Sarodar, India--d. April 2, 1933, Jamnagar), one of the world's greatest cricket players and, later, a ruler of his native state in India.

After attending Trinity College, Cambridge (1890-93), he played for the Sussex cricket team in first-class county competition (1895-97, 1899-1904, 1908, 1912) and served as team captain (1899-1903). An unorthodox but graceful batsman, he scored the high total of 3,000 runs in 1899 and again in 1900. In 15 England-versus-Australia test matches, he scored 985 runs.

As maharaja of Nawanagar from March 1907, he was a progressive ruler and statesman and set an example by the simplicity of his personal life. He modernized his capital of Jamnagar, developed the seaport of Nawanagar, and built roads, railways, and irrigation facilities. During World War I he was a British army staff officer in France, attaining the rank of colonel. In 1920 he represented the Indian states at the League of Nations Assembly, Geneva, and in 1932 he became chancellor of the Indian Chamber of Princes. He was knighted in 1917, 1919, and 1923."

Britannica CD, Version 99© 1994-1998. Encyclopędia Britannica, Inc.

2. Roland Wild, op cit:

[p 221] Settled in the newly-christened "Jamnagar House," he now became a citizen of Staines... London was in easy reach, and his box at Lord's often called him, there to play the host to scores of old cricketing friends. London, too, tempted him to continue increasing the value of the State jewels, and in the course of many years he laid the foundation of one of the world's greatest stores of modernised jewellery. He was expert in the study of pearls, and in devising means of beautifying old necklaces and settings. On accession, he had found that under the administrations of 1895 to 1904, and 1906, the easiest course had been taken to restore the State finances to health. All the State jewels that were not reverenced for their antiquity or history were sold, and the few treasures that were left were clumsily set and unattractive.

The Jam Saheb himself loved jewellery, and would fondle [p 222] precious stones with the touch of an artist. He began to pit his knowledge against the opinions of the experts. He already envisaged the possession by the State of the finest collection in India. It took twenty-three years to fulfil that ambition...

[p 323] The most important item in the emerald collection is the emerald and diamond necklace, containing 277 carats of first-class emeralds. The largest in the pendant weighs 70 carats, and was reputed to come from the collection of a former Sultan of Turkey.. The puggaree ornament which goes with it carries in the centre an emerald of 39.43 carats remarkable for its fire....

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