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Dazzling works of art from the Indian subcontinent go on display at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

Release date: Friday, 8 June 2018


Two exhibitions at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace have brought together some of the finest examples of craftsmanship and literary and artistic production from the Indian subcontinent. Both are drawn entirely from the Royal Collection, which contains one of the world's greatest and most wide-ranging collections of material from the region.
Exploring the long-standing relationship between the British Monarchy and South Asia, Splendours of the Subcontinent: Four Centuries of South Asian Paintings and Manuscripts presents 150 works from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, most of which are on public display for the first time. Since the early 17th century, diplomatic gift-giving has played a crucial role in the development of the relationship between the British Monarchy and rulers of South Asia. Among the most important gifts received from the subcontinent is the Padshahnama ('Book of Emperors'), an illuminated manuscript recording the reign of the Mughal Emperor Shah-Jahan, sent to George III by the ruler of Awadh in 1799. Ten paintings from the Padshahnama, the only contemporary illustrated imperial volume to survive, are shown in the exhibition.
In the complementary exhibition Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince's Tour of India 1875–6, gifts given to Albert Edward, Prince of Wales go on display in London for the first time in 130 years. The Prince was only the second member of the royal family to visit the subcontinent, undertaking a four-month tour in 1875–6 and meeting more than 90 local rulers in an effort to establish personal and diplomatic links. As part of the traditional exchange of gifts, the Prince was presented with over 2,000 examples of Indian design and craftsmanship, a selection of which are on display in the exhibition, including glittering jewellery, ceremonial arms, gold and silverware and courtly objects.