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Across Coveted Lands by Arnold Henry Savage Landor

They represent the last two Shahs


Less modern but more reposeful is the next ante-room with white walls and pretty wood ceiling. It has some military pictures of no great value.

On going down ten steps we find ourselves in a long conservatory with blue and yellow tiles and a semi-open roof. A channel of water runs in the centre of the floor, and is the outlet of three octagonal basins and of spouts at intervals of ten feet. There is a profusion of lemon and orange trees at the sides of the water, and the place is kept deliciously cool.

Here we emerge again into the gardens, which are really beautiful although rather overcrowded, but which have plenty of fountains and huge tanks, with handsome buildings reflected into the water.

The high tiled square towers, one of the landmarks of Teheran, are quite picturesque, but some of the pleasure of looking at the really fine view is destroyed by numerous ugly cast-iron coloured figures imported from Austria which disfigure the sides of all the reservoirs, and are quite out of keeping with the character of everything round them.

We are now conducted into another building, where Roman mosaics occupy a leading position, a large one of the Coliseum being quite a valuable work of art; but on entering the second room we are suddenly confronted by a collection of hideous tin ware and a specimen case of ordinary fish hooks, manufactured by Messrs. W. Bartlett and Sons. Next to this is a framed autograph of "Nina de Muller of St. Petersburg," and a photographic gathering of gay young ladies with suitable inscriptions--apparently some of the late Shah's acquaintances during his European tours. Here are also stuffed owls, an automatic juggler, an imitation snake, Japanese screens, and an amusing painting by a Persian artist of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden--the forbidden fruit already missing.

Previous to entering the largest room we come to an ante-room with photographs of scenery and events belonging to the Shah's tour to Europe.

In the large gold room the whole set of furniture, I am told, was presented to Nasr-ed-din Shah by the Sultan of Turkey, and there are, besides, six large oil-paintings hanging upon the walls in gorgeous gold frames. They represent the last two Shahs, the Emperor and Empress of Russia, the Crown Prince at the time of the presentation, and the Emperor of Austria. A smaller picture of Victor Emmanuel also occupies a prominent place, but here again we have another instance of the little reverence in which our beloved Queen Victoria was held in the eyes of the Persian Court. Among the various honoured foreign Emperors and Kings, to whom this room is dedicated, Queen Victoria's only representation is a small, bad photograph, skied in the least attractive part of the room--a most evident slight, when we find such photographs as that of the Emperor William occupying a front and honoured place, as does also the photograph of Queen Wilhelmina of Holland with her mother. Yet another palpable instance of this disregard for the reigning head of England appears in a series of painted heads of Sovereigns. The Shah, of course, is represented the biggest of the lot, and King Humbert, Emperor William, the Sultan of Turkey and the Emperor of Austria, of about equal sizes; whereas the Queen of England is quite small and insignificant.


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