Stonehurst, where the Jenkins were living in 1914, had been furnished by its former owners in a style reflecting their prior service in India. “In the hall the brass gong was suspended from the horn or tusk of some animal;
in the dining-room hung water-colours of the Ganges at Benares [now Varanasi], the Old Fort at Calcutta, the Taj Mahal;
in the smoking room, a small revolving book case contained only four books: Marie Corelli’s Sorrows of Satan, St. John Clarke’s Never to the Philistines, an illustrated volume of light verse called Lays of Ind, a volume of coloured pictures of Sepoy uniforms;
in the drawing-room, the piano was covered with a Kashmiri shawl of some size and fine texture,
upon which, in silver frames, photographs of the former owner of Stonehurst (wearing a pith helmet surmounted with a spike) and his family (flanked by Indian servants) had stood before being stowed away in a drawer.” [TKO 63 /61 ]
Writing a century after this scene, many of the images that we find on the Internet are of objects that are displayed in museums or offered for sale. In contrast, much of the Stonehurst decor was probably kitsch rather than high art and would be unlikely to survive to the twenty-first century, just as Marie Corelli’s Sorrows of Satan was one of the most popular novels at the beginning of the twentieth century but is largely unknown today.
Powell provides a précis in a paragraph, summarizing volumes of cultural history. For those who want to continue to explore, please “look inside the book” Lays of Ind (1837) by Aliph Cheem, a pseudonym for Walter Yeldham, which is a collection of ‘exalted doggerel‘ about British India, accompanied by drawings that expand Powell’s collage of the Raj.