Vis­ual De­light

BOMTI IYEN­GAR

India Today - - COVER STORY -

Art col­lec­tor and dealer Bomti Iyen­gar’s Chowringhee lane apart­ment on the third floor of a cen­tury-old colo­nial build­ing that once housed Asia’s largest de­part­men­tal store, White­ways Laid­law & Co is steeped in the city’s colo­nial past. “These flats were orig­i­nally oc­cu­pied by high-rank­ing of­fi­cers of the store. We moved in in the 70s,” says Iyen­gar, 56, who has bril­liantly pre­served the old-world charm of this 3,500-square-feet apart­ment.

Art Fac­tor

MF Hu­sain, SH Raza and KG Subra­manyan share the cream walls with Jamini Roy, Par­i­tosh Sen and Su­nil Das. A par­tic­u­larly natty piece of fur­ni­ture is an an­tique Burma teak side­board well over a cen­tury old, with lion-paw legs that look un­can­nily real. The base for the glasstopped cof­fee-ta­ble at the cen­tre of the lounge area has been carved out of one sec­tion of a three piece, bil­liard ta­ble. “My grand­mother in­her­ited one por­tion of the bil­liards ta­ble, while the re­main­ing two went to her sis­ters,” says Iyen­gar.

Col­lec­tor’s Cache

Iyen­gar has a re­mark­able in­ven­tory of col­lectibles and artsy arte­facts—prized pos­ses­sions in­clude the sur­viv­ing pieces of an an­tique Tsut­sumi cof­fee set that was a part of Iyen­gar’s grand­mother’s wed­ding trousseau, a three-piece sculp­ture by sculp­tor Jiban Doloi picked up by Iyen­gar’s mother on a trip to Shan­tinike­tan, a bronze horse char­iot from Greece and a clas­sic sil­ver cig­a­rette box from the iconic Hamil­ton & Co that still sits on the cen­tre ta­ble.

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