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Art & Design

A look inside lawyer Diljeet Titus’s enviable collection of vintage cars, rare furniture—even an aircraft

10 Jan , 2018  

Instead of keeping them locked up, Titus’ philosophy is to treat the valuable collectibles as daily-use items

 

By Shashi Sunny; Photos: Sonalie Singh

 

Anyone who loves vintage, rare objects would be well-advised to strike up a friendship with Diljeet Titus—the head of the Titus & Co law firm. The Titus home-office, a sprawling three-storey bungalow in Greater Kailash Part 1, New Delhi, could pass of as a museum. The difference is that instead of being locked up, the pieces here are used and enjoyed daily.

 

Diljeet Titus is the head of Titus & Co, a law firm

Diljeet Titus is the head of Titus & Co, a law firm

 

The Titus treasures are many—a set of four chairs from four different royal houses, to start with. They date back to the Delhi Durbar of 1911, and it took Titus 10 years to procure them. These include gilded furniture that belonged to the Maratha Holkars, solid silver chairs from the Kapurthala royal family (two such chairs are at the Buckingham Palace in London) and extremely rare Dutch chairs of 17th century vintage. Titus’s collection also includes rare Royal Dalton tableware, Lalique and Wedgewood pieces and antique Venetian mirrors. He has a bevy of vintage motorcars and bikes too—and a Dakota aircraft and 1903 Kapurthala railway carriage to boot. His farmhouse is currently being converted into a museum by architect Sunita Kohli. “It was the cars that first caught my fancy,” says Titus. “I was fascinated by my grandparents’ 1951 Chevy, which fuelled an interest for the vintage. I began collecting rare picnic cases by Louis Vuitton, portable gramophones and furniture—anything that was beautiful and rare.”

 

a set of four chairs from four different royal houses date back to the Delhi Durbar of 1911

A set of four chairs from four different royal houses that date back to the Delhi Durbar of 1911

 

Most pieces are bought from private dealers or friends. He says,“I use these objects as part of my daily life—chairs, tables, lights, tableware, artefacts to add character to my home. I don’t believe in keeping them locked up. They are to touch, feel and enjoy.”

 

Titus’s collection also includes rare Royal Dalton tableware, Lalique and Wedgewood pieces

Titus’s collection also includes rare Royal Dalton tableware, Lalique and Wedgewood pieces

 

s invites friends and connections over often, to enjoy his pieces as he does. He doesn’t regret a single purchase, he says. “The only thing I regret is perhaps paying too little for a collectible. It’s sad that few people value these beautiful things.”

 

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