Marble Palace is a palatial mansion, built in 1835 by a French architect for Raja Rajendra Mullick, an affluent Bengali merchant and art connoisseur. He built this grand palace with a passion of preserving the exquisite works of art. The mansion is famous for its sparkling white marble walls and floors, from which it has derived its present name.
The palace also has an exquisite collection of Western sculpture and Victorian furniture. There is a private zoo, which was the first zoo in India, unveiled by Raja Rajendra Mullick. The mansion has a grand portico with stucco work and six Tuscan columns and the ground floor and first floor each have 14 Corinthian columns.
History of Marble Palace, Kolkata
Marble Palace is one of the most beautifully conserved and elegant houses in Kolkata. This nineteenth century magnificent mansion was built under the benefaction of Raja Rajendra Mullick – a rich Bengali merchant with a strong urge for collecting exquisite works of art. The mansion is a masterpiece, with 90 varieties of patterned marble on the floors of the mansion. The structure of the mansion is originally Neoclasical in style and it merges with traditional Bengali style of architecture with open courtyards. Close by the courtyard, there is the place of worship for the family members, which is also called Thakur-Dalan.
The Marble Palace is three-storied and features tall fluted Corinthian Pillars. The mansion is admired with ornamented balconies, featuring sloping roofs and fretwork, which drew influence from the style of Chinese pavilion. The premises of the mansion also include a beautiful garden with lawn, a rock garden, a lake and a small zoo. The sprawling lawn around the palace has a number of statues of Hindu Gods, Jesus Christ, The Virgin Mary, Lord Buddha, the great explorer Christopher Columbus and some lions. It also has marble fountains and a dramatic statue of “Leda and the Swan.”
Marble Palace houses an exquisite range of Western sculptures and amazing Victorian furniture, beautiful paintings by eminent Indian and European artists and other objects of art. Decorative items include clocks, huge chandeliers, floor to ceiling mirrors, urns and busts of kings and queens. The mansion also preserves two mesmeric paintings of Rubens – The Marriage of St. Catherine and The martyrdom of St. Sebastian. It is believed that Marble palace also houses two gorgeous paintings of Sir Joshua Reynolds – The Infant Hercules Strangling the Serpent and Venus and Cupid. Other artists said to be included in this amazing collections include Murillo, Titian and John Opie.
Adjacent to the palace, stands the Marble Palace Zoo, which is acknowledged as the first zoo opened in India by Raja Rajendra Mullick. However, it has now primarily become an aviary and shelters for hornbills, peacocks, storks, pelicans and cranes.
There lies an impressive Jagannath Temple close to the Marble Palace, which was built by Raja Rajendra Mullick. However, only family members are allowed in the temple.
Since, Marble Palace remains a private residence, photography is not allowed.