The India House in Aldwych was set up as a building for the offices of the Indian High Commissioner and Embassy and should not be confused with the hostel in Highgate. The building was conceived by Sir Atul Chatterjee, the first High Commissioner for India in London, and Herbert Baker. It was designed by Herbert Baker and Gilbert Scott. The building was completed in 1930 and opened by King George V with a solid gold key.
Chatterjee decided to set up a scholarship scheme to decorate the new India House and with the help of William Rothenstein, four Indian art students (chosen by competition) arrived in September 1929. Samuel Fyzee-Rahamin applied to be involved in the painting, but was rejected because he was too ‘senior’. The Indian artists commenced work at India House in April 1931. The artists were unable to complete the work, having only painted the dome when Atul Chatterjee was replaced by Sir Bhupendranath Mitra and financial constraints intervened.
Upon independence in 1947, the building was transferred to the Indian Government. The first High Commissioner to preside in it was V. K. Krishna Menon. The building is still used by the Indian High Commission today.
Laurence Binyon, E. Michael Dinkel, Samuel Fyzee-Rahamin, Abanindranath Tagore, Francis Younghusband.
The four artists were Dhirendra Krishna Deb Barman, Sudhansu Sekhar Chaudhury, Ranada Uki and Lalit Mohan Sen.
Exhibition of Modern Art at Burlington Galleries, 1934
See Deb Barman, D. K., ‘Londone India Houser Deyal Chitra’, Prabasi 31. 7 (Kartik, 1339) (in Bengali)
Baker, Herbert, Architecture and Personalities (London, 1944)
Mitter, Partha, The Triumph of Modernism: India’s Artists and the Avant-Garde 1922-1947 (London: Reaktion Books, 2007)
MS Eng 1148.1, Rothenstein Archive, Houghton Library, Harvard University
Mss Eur F147/74, India Society Archive, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras
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