Polish artist at the service of Maharajas

  • Agnieszka Kasprzak (Author)

Identifiers (Article)


The outbreak of World War Two and the resultant escape from bombarded Warsaw was the reason for the oriental episode in the artistic career of Stefan Norblin. Travelling with his wife, Lena Żelichowska, through Romania, Turkey and Iraq, in 1940 he reached Bombay in India. From here, after almost four years full of interesting artistic projects, he was invited to Rajasthan by its ruler Umaid Singh to work in the interior of the royal residences in Jodhpur. In the beginning, the Maharaja, like those who had commissioned Norblin earlier, asked the artist to execute a scheme of painted decoration on the walls of the Umaid Bhawan Palace, but later Norblin was asked to design the whole interior of the palace. This happened by accident, because of the sinking of a ship bringing to India furniture which the Maharaja had ordered from the London firm “Maples”. The situation in Europe and the desire to furnish the newly built palace as soon as possible led the ruler to turn to the Polish artist with the suggestion that he design the furniture too.