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Exploring the Indian Subcontinent

A watercolour depicting Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, landing at the dockyard in Bombay on 8 November 1875. Inscribed along the bottom and signed: The first step on Indian soil./ S.P.H.Bombay.

In October 1875, Albert Edward, the eldest son of Que

Landing at the dockyard, Bombay ©

On 8 November 1875 the Prince of Wales arrived at Bombay, the first stop of his four-month tour. A group of advisors, friends and members of the Prince's household accompanied him. These included William Howard Russell, a prominent journalist who recorded the journey in his diary, and Sydney Prior Hall, an artist who captured the tour through his vivid watercolours and sketches. During the tour, the Prince of Wales travelled by boat, rail, carriage and elephant.

At each city and town elaborate arches, pavilions and illuminations were erected to welcome the Prince and his party. The maharajas of Baroda, Benares, Kashmir, Gwalior, Jaipur and Indore also invited the Prince of Wales to visit their courts. Grand processions were organised by these rulers as they escorted the Prince, usually on elephant, into their palaces. These visits allowed the Prince to learn more about the rich and varied culture and history of the Indian subcontinent.

During the Prince of Wales's visit to Bombay, he was presented with three albums comprising more than sixty late eighteenth-century watercolour paintings showing the different avatars (manifestations) of the Hindu god Vishnu.

Indian School, late 18th century

The marriage of Krishna and Rukmini.

Indian School, late 18th century

Rama, the seventh incarnation of Vishnu.

JB Gomes, Mudaliyar (active 1875-81)

Address casket

? Indian; Sialkot