[King George V of England]

George V Delhi Durbar Coronation Robe Fragment, with Outstanding Provenance

George V Delhi Durbar coronation robe fragment, with outstanding provenance


Fabric fragment accompanied by handwritten provenance inscribed: "Piece of the material out of which King George V of England's robe was made that was worn by him at the Coronation Durbar in India 1912. Presented by Mrs. C.C. Gruner. Brooklyn, NY." Isolated edge wear and surface loss, else near fine. Bright and bold colors. Measures 9.25" x 3.375". From the collection of the Luray Museum of Luray, Virginia.


The oblong velvet fragment features two distinct patterns representing the United Kingdom and India respectively. At bottom, a multicolored tartan alludes to Highland heraldry. At top, a stylized lotus flower, the official blossom of India, is depicted floating within a paisley. Together, then, the fabric design symbolized the unification of two faraway parts of the British Empire.


George V (1865-1936) and Mary of Teck were crowned King and Queen of England at Westminster Abbey in London in June 1911. Six months later, the monarchs traveled to northern India for their coronation as Emperor and Empress of India. The Delhi Durbar, or "Court of Delhi," as it was called, took place between December 7-16, 1911, culminating in a resplendent ceremony on December 12th. On that day, George V and Mary of Teck sat in double thrones under a canopy, or shamiana, while Indian princes and Raj officials swore their allegiance to the new rulers.


Sir John William Fortescue described the royal wardrobe in his contemporary account Narrative of the Visit to India of their Majesties King George V. and Queen Mary (Macmillan & Co., London, 1912).  "Both were arrayed in Royal attire," Fortescue wrote, "the King in the raiment of white satin which he wore at the Coronation in Westminster Abbey, with robes of purple velvet bound with gold, and wearing further his Imperial crown, which was one greet sheet of diamonds, the collar of the Garter, and the star of the Order of the Star of India in diamonds" (149). George V's Imperial Crown, encrusted with over 6,000 diamonds and 17 rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, weighed a little over 2 lb., and purportedly gave the King a headache over the 3 1/2 hour-long-ceremony.


It's unknown whether this fragment came from the official coronation robe, or another garment worn by George V during the Delhi Durbar. George V would have required other ceremonial dress, for instance, when he greeted the public from the Red Fort balcony the following day, and reviewed 50,000 troops on parade on December 14th.


The Luray Museum of Luray, Virginia was started by town resident Mary "Mollie" Zeiler Zerkle (1845-1933). According to family history, nineteen-year-old "Mollie" nursed Union soldiers after the 1864 Battle of New Market. She married Lemuel Zerkle, and the two lived in New Market, Virginia until 1890. That year, the family relocated to Luray, fourteen miles east across the Massanutten Mountain range, where Lemuel had secured a post as Superintendent of Luray Caverns. Local historian Daniel Vaughn reported that the museum operated between 1938-1960, after which point the collection was sold at auction.


Gene H. Baber of Fisherville, Virginia was an avid antique collector. His collection included everything from Civil War letters to epaulettes, from early frakturs to vintage wind-up toys.


Provenance: Estate of Gene H. Baber, Fishersville, Virginia; Collection of Mary "Mollie" Zeiler Zerkle and Lemuel Zerkle, Luray Museum, Luray, Virginia



Item: 64834

Price: $500.00
[King George V of England][King George V of England][King George V of England][King George V of England]
[King George V of England][King George V of England][King George V of England][King George V of England]
[King George V of England][King George V of England][King George V of England]
[King George V of England]
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