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Tikka Sophia Duleep Singh

SMI 2: Tikka belonging to Maharani Jindan Kaur
Date: 1800-1840
Original Location: Sikh Empire, Lahore, Punjab
Present location: Private collection

Gold forehead jewelry ‘tikka’ belonging to Maharani Jindan Kaur and by descent to Princess Sophia Duleep Singh.

A crescent shape set with three uncut rubies and a crescent of rock crystal with many small pearls and gold leaf-shaped pieces hinging on it. The Tikka is worn from the centre of the head attached to ones’ hair and sits firmly on the forehead.

Additional information

On arriving in London, the India Office returned to Maharani Jind Kaur her casket of Jewels from Lahore which had been confiscated when she had escaped from British custody. Jind Kaur lived in the UK from January 1861 where she remained until her death in Kensington, London, on 1 August 1863. Her jewels were passed down to her son Maharajah Duleep Singh and thence to his various children. Sophia and her sisters possessed an impressive collection of spectacular jewels inherited from their grandmother Jindan, including pearls, large diamond rings, and a number of ruby and spinel necklaces. This piece formed part of Princess Sophia Duleep Singh’s jewelry collection. The Tikka was later gifted by the Princess to her personal maid and companion, and thence by descent. Private Collection.

Sophia was fined several times but bailiffs actually recovered her jewelry from Hampton Court Palace so that it could be sold at auction. Each time this happened friends of Sophia would ensure that nobody bid on the items and hence bringing the price down and the item being sold for a pittance. The items would be bought by Sophia’s suffragette friends and given back to her. Sophia would be in attendance at these auctions. (David Roberts, Suffragette: The Battle for Equality( Pan Macmillan 2018).

PUBLISHED: See Peter Bance, Sovereign, Squire and Rebel: Maharajah Duleep Singh (2009)

EXHIBITED: The Maharajah Exhibition, Ancient House Museum, Thetford (2010-11)

3d Relic first demonstrated: 21/03/2019 New Walk Museum, Leicester.

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