Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

22 April 2009

Old, rich, bourgeois, distinguished.

British design critic Stephen Bayley once remarked that "interior design is a travesty of the architectural process and a frightening condemnation of the credulity, helplessness and gullibility of the most formidable consumers—the rich".
Walking into the Viceregal Lodge, you are at once awestruck, exasperated and amused by its interior. If its exterior is Promethean, its interiors are pure Hamlet! If the exterior is about Power, then the interior is an endless chain of indecision: pagan? Jacobean? Victorian? Scottish Baronial? Heck, let's have it all!
The value of economy is abandoned in favour of grandeur, of a sort of unrestrained "look at me" drama! The woodwork, the heights, the patterns speak not only about the forces at work in society at the time when the Viceregal Lodge was created, but also about the intensely social character of the interiors of its occupants.
Rich detail characterises each room. Yet nothing is left to your imagination: it is not ambiguous, or arcane and certainly not mysterious. This is not a world of intuition; and yet, you are transported by the shape and form of the corporeal objects all around you into a world of unique and inexpressible beauty. There is order, and symmetry and a sort of moral comeliness to this building... If the intention is to strike awe in the viewer, it is achieved in great measure!!


Anonymous said...

Looks excellent to me. Fine, rich, warm, hardwood. I wonder whether the wood was harvested locally or was imported from England? Great pictures. Thank you. Hope to live in Shimla someday.

Gallimaufry said...

Thank you, dear Anonymous person. The wood is teak, imported from Burma. Looking at the size of the Viceregal Lodge, it is clear that somewhere a small forest was destroyed so that this rich look could be born.

Deep Sea said...

Interesting choice of words in your description of the interiors.
Missed seeing the Viceregal Lodge, during my maiden visit to Shimla earlier this month. But one of the books I picked up during the trip was Imperial Shimla by Pamela Kanwar. She quotes historical sources and personages describing it as '...most impressive structure in Shimla......yet trifle ludicrous' :-)

ps said...

i agree--we used to picnic on the grounds in our school days--and sneaked inside a couple of times...it was quite imposingly gothic outside yet even then,the interior seemed like a waste of wood..

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