Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince’s Tour of India 1875–6
8 July – 29 October 2017
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
Some of the finest Indian treasures from the Royal Collection will go on display in a new Royal Collection Trust exhibition that tells the story of the grand tour of the Subcontinent made by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) at the end of the 19th century.
In October 1875, the Prince of Wales set off on a four-month tour, visiting over 21 localities, which today encompass India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal. Travelling nearly 7,600 miles by land and 2,300 miles by sea, he met over 90 rulers of the different regions he visited. Preceding the declaration of his mother, Queen Victoria, as the Empress of India, his visit sought to establish personal links with the local rulers and strengthen ties between the subcontinent and the British Crown.
The exhibition tells the story of the tour through watercolours, photographs and 74 exquisite works of art that were presented to the Prince as part of the traditional exchange of gifts. Many of these items were precious heirlooms from the rulers’ toshakhanas, or personal treasuries, while others were specially commissioned from local artisans.
The Prince recognised the cultural value and artistic merit of the gifts he had received. On his return to Britain, he made arrangements for the items to be placed on public display, first at the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum), and later in Paris and at museums across the UK, including in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, York and Nottingham.
The exhibition has a number of artifacts related to the Sikh Maharajas and the area of the Punjab.
More information at Leicester City Council’s Museums
Watch the exhibition video