ZSL Silver Medal, awarded to the Maharajah of Kuch-Behar, 1887
This ZSL Silver Medal was presented to "His Highness Nripendra Naroyan Bhup, in Acknowledgement of Valuable Donations to the Society" in 1887. One of these donations was an Indian rhinoceros, given in 1886.
The Silver Medal of the Zoological Society of London was established in 1837 and first awarded in 1847. The medal was designed by Thomas Landseer. The Society's medals are cast by the Royal Mint and are still presented today. The next award ceremony will be on the 18th June.
The Maharajah came to London for Queen Victoria's golden jubilee and also attended the General Meeting of the Zoological Society on 16 June 1887. The ZSL Annual Report for that year states: "At the General Meeting [...], after the usual formal business the Silver Medal, awarded to the Maharajah of Kuch-Behar, in acknowledgement of his donations to the Society's Menagerie, was presented to His Highness in person, and suitably acknowledged."
The meeting was followed by a Reception to celebrate Queen Victoria’s jubilee, "numerously attended by Fellows of the Society and their friends and other specially invited guests, amongst whom may be mentioned the Queen of Hawaii [...]". The plan for the whole event "was carried out in a manner which, the Council believe, was allowed on all sides to be very successful."
A few days later on the 21st June, the Maharajah and his wife Sunity Devee attended the Queen's Jubilee ceremony at Westminster Abbey, followed by a dinner at Buckingham Palace that night. The couple met Queen Victoria on a number of occasions during their stay and the Queen was Godmother to their fourth child, Victor. Those who attended the celebrations were presented with the Jubilee medal.
This month's artefacts were very kindly presented to ZSL by the family of the late Bernard Owens. The medals were purchased by Mr Owens in 1989. He was a Fellow of ZSL and former member of ZSL Council.