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photograph of current display in the Grand Vestibule

A display highlighting the interaction between the monarchy and the wider world

India

Pair of bracelets 19th century

RCIN 11357

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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Pair of gold bracelets; enamelled with red and green, and studded with diamonds with elephant head clasps. Circular in section with detachable part of two roaring beasts heads with movable ruby tongues. With diamonds outside forming a leaf trail. Inside with enamel floral designs. Of a traditional form with crisply modelled and chased dragon-head terminals, these are probably the bracelets that were presented to Queen Victoria by Dr J. Tyler, superintendent of the Agra Jail, who selected and brought to London the Indian artisans who plied their trades at the Colonial and Indian Exhibition at South Kensington in 1886. The Queen, in thanking Tyler for the gift in a letter dated 20 September 1886, informed him that she had worn the bracelets the previous evening. The exhibition was organised at the instigation of its Executive President, the Prince of Wales, and occupied the site of the present Imperial College. Here was laid before the London public a vast spectrum of the arts, architecture, manufactures and natural riches of the Empire. It was opened by the Queen at a ceremony in the Royal Albert Hall, at which Madame Albani sang an ode written especially for the occasion by the Poet Laureate, Lord Tennyson, and set to music by Sir Arthur Sullivan. There followed three verses of the National Anthem, of which the second was sung in Sanskrit. The exhibition made a profit of £25,000 which was put towards the foundation of the Imperial (later Commonwealth) Institute in 1893. Catalogue entry from Royal Treasures, A Golden Jubilee Celebration, London 2002