Lucknow- Fading Splendour
Lucknow is dotted with grand homes in varying states of disrepair. Fading beauties, once resplendent, they lie silently on the banks of the Gomti or stand lost in mazes of the old town. They’re usually concealed by haphazard wires, traffic, new construction, dust and sound. Stepping in from roads, one is startled by the contrast as you enter their world of unassuming beauty, style and elegance. These houses hide interior design details such as heavy, hand carved panelled doors and cusped arches with columns that compliment delicate tapestry and woven rugs. It’s a world of quietude, where fragile glass lamps encircled by intricate hand-drawn motifs rest against aged lime washed walls. They’re homes that balance frailty and strength perfectly– spaces of ease and splendour, built for life lived at a slower pace than it is today.
The pictures here, were taken with a client at an Imambara and Salempur House . The Imambara has undergone a recent renovation– the older, soft grey marble floor was replaced by a startling salmon pink floor in high shine and was slightly disappointing. We did however, manage a few pictures in areas that hadn’t been renovated.
Salempur house’s exterior, although pretty, belied the exquisite elegance that we were to encounter on entering. On the interior we found that room followed room in harmonious beauty and impeccability. Cool grey and black marble floors were juxtaposed against intricate hand painted halls . Wood panelled doors & halls stood alongside reverse glass paintings. There were also rooms with family portraits, stained glass and highly decorated walls in almost complete disrepair, locked up in darkness. But as with most old homes, legal complications prevent their restoration. A home such as this is usually only patched together when something completely gives way. Though not ideal, it is still better than others which have been left to die slowly or even worse, been demolished.
We took notes on: colour, hand painted motifs, door & balustrade details.
Left: Door detail on the interior Salempur House. On the other side of the door lie the interiors of a room covered completely in hand painted motifs Right: Chandeliers in an Imambara Clockwise from left: Lime washed walls and marble floors come together in this hallway from the interiors of Salempur House. Detail of art in the hallway. Melon hundi light in the hallway
Left: Wood panelled interior of the dining hall, Salempur House. Right: Detail on a built in shelf in the hallway
Left: Passage way in the interiors of Salempur House. Right: Hallway in the interiors of Salempur house
Clockwise from left: Hand painted wall detail in the interiors of Salempur House, Chikan embroidered table runner with fish motif and a side table in Salempur House