When: 11th March – 18th June 2017
Where: Cartwright Hall, Lister Park, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD9 4NS
£: Free admission
What is it?
Splendours of the Subcontinent, an exhibition of dazzling Indian treasures from the Royal Collection, will open on Saturday 11th March at Cartwright Hall in Bradford.
Some of the finest Indian treasures from the Royal Collection will go on display in the new exhibition, which tells the story of the grand tour to the Indian Subcontinent made by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) at the end of the 19th century.
Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince’s Tour of India 1875–6, has been developed in collaboration with Bradford Council’s Museums and Galleries Service, The Royal Collection Trust and New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester.
Celebrating the long-standing relationship and vibrant cultural history between the UK and India, the exhibition is an official event of the UK/India 2017 Year of Culture, a year-long programme of events led by the British Council, in cooperation with the Indian High Commission.
Bradford is the only location in the north of England to host these objects. The exhibition will then travel to New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester, before going on display at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, and on to London.
Cartwright Hall will also be hosting a programme of events to accompany the exhibition, allowing people to explore the objects in more detail.
In October 1875, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, set off on a four-month tour visiting over 21 areas, which today encompass India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal.
Travelling nearly 7,600 miles by land and 2,300 miles by sea, the Prince met more than 90 rulers of the different regions he visited, establishing personal links and strengthening ties between the subcontinent and the British Crown.
More than 70 exquisite works of art, that were presented to the Prince as part of the traditional exchange of gifts, will be on display. Alongside these items, watercolours and photographs from the tour, and items from the Council’s own collection of South Asian metalwork will be exhibited.
Many of the items presented to the Prince were precious heirlooms from the rulers’ treasuries, while others were specially commissioned from local artisans. The Prince recognised the cultural value and artistic merit of the gifts he had received, and on his return to Britain made arrangements for the items to be placed on public display.
The newspapers of the time encouraged the Victorian public to see these extraordinary works of art, and it was reported in the York Herald that ‘the Magnificent Collection of the Prince of Wales’s Indian Presents’ were seen by more than a quarter of a million people whilst at the Yorkshire Fine Art and Industrial Institution for the Summer Exhibition in 1881.