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Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince's Tour of India 1875-6

Splendours exhibition at New Walk Museum and Art Gallery

Watch the Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition trailer

Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince's Tour of India 1875–6
Now open until 29 October 2017 Free admission
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery

Some of the finest Indian treasures from the Royal Collection are now on 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.

Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince's Tour of India 1875–76 exhibition will also be shown at The Queen's Galleries in Edinburgh and London in 2018. The Leicester leg of the exhibition features additional interpretation exploring the political context for the visit.

How did the tour help the British government control a vast and diverse part of the British Empire? Who were the rulers the Prince met and what motivated them to give the gifts? 2017 is the 70th anniversary of independence for India and Pakistan; what meaning might these gifts and their story have for us today?  

Splendours exhibition for website


Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince's Tour of India 1875–76 exhibition will be on throughout the summer holidays and also throughout Leicester's Diwali Festival. The Diwali celebrations in Leicester are one of the biggest outside of India, with over 35,000 people attending the switch on of the lights on Belgrave Road and more attending Diwali Day itself, in the heart of the city's Asian community. The Diwali Festival this year runs from Sunday 8 - Sunday 22 October. 

The Royal Collection is among the largest and most important art collections in the world, and one of the last great European royal collections to remain intact. It comprises almost all aspects of the fine and decorative arts, and is spread among some 13 royal residences and former residences across the UK, most of which are regularly open to the public. 

The Royal Collection is held in trust by the Sovereign for her successors and the nation, and is not owned by The Queen as a private individual. Explore the Royal Collection at www.royalcollection.org.uk

Events

The exhibition is complemented by a series of family events across the summer holidays, for more details please call the museum on 0116 225 4900.

Storytelling from South Asia
Every Monday of the summer holidays
2pm - 2.45pm
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
Delve into historical tales of South Asia with professional storyteller Ruth Fraser from Leicester Storytellers Guild. Free storytelling session, perfect for all ages . Please gather in front of the Splendours of the Subcontinent Gallery.

A Story About Ruth

Ruth had a father who could make a trip to the shops sound an exciting adventure, so it is no surprise that she has been telling stories to her friends and her children all her life.

Her father had a great love of India and brought her up on the stories of India. Later, having trained as a Health Visitor, Ruth had the opportunity to live and work in South India which intensified her love of that country and its stories and mythology.

In 1996 She trained with the cadre of storytellers in the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco and continued with that team until she left the US in 2012. Leading a story club, teaching storytelling, membership of the Storytelling Association of California and bookings in many venues added richness to her experience.

Since returning to the UK she has been an active member of the Leicester Guild of Storytelling, telling stories at an archeological dig, to faith groups, and many more. 

Stories from South Asia
Monday 31 July
2pm – 2.45pm
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
Delve into historical tales of South Asia with professional storyteller Ruth Fraser. Free activity in support of the Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition. T: 0116 225 4900

Royal Portrait Drawing Activity
Monday 31 July
3pm – 4pm
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
Pick up sketching materials from our friendly staff and draw your own royal portrait! Drop-in, free activity in support of Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition. T: 0116 225 4900

Royal Regalia
Monday 7 August
Sessions at 10am, 11am and 12pm
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
Discover the Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition and create your own crowns, jewellery and feathered fans.  Pre-booking essential, to book please contact the museum on 0116 225 4920.

Stories from South Asia
Monday 7 August
2pm – 2.45pm

New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
Delve into historic tales of South Asia with our professional storyteller. Free activity in support of the Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition. T: 0116 225 4900  

Royal Portrait Drawing Activity
Monday 7 August
3pm – 4pm
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery

Pick up sketching materials from our friendly staff and draw your own royal portrait! Drop-in, free activity in support of Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition. T: 0116 225 4900

Stately Shields
Monday 14 August
Sessions at 10am, 11am and 12pm
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
Explore the Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition and design your own dahl shields. Pre-booking essential. To book, please contact the museum on 0116 225 4920. 

Stories from South Asia
Monday 14 August
2pm – 2.45pm
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
Delve into historic tales of South Asia with professional storyteller Ruth Fraser. Free activity in support of the Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition. T: 0116 225 4900 

Royal Portrait Drawing
Monday 14 August
3pm – 4pm

New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
Pick up sketching materials from our friendly staff and draw your own royal portrait! Drop in, free activity in support of Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition. T: 0116 225 4900

Life Journeys
Tuesday 15 August
11am – 4pm

New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
Chart personal journeys and voyages on our world map. Free activity in support of the Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition. T: 0116 225 4900

Indian Paper Flowers
Monday 28 August
Sessions at 10am, 11am & 12pm
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery

Learn more about the use of historical Indian flowers by crafting your own paper designs. £3 per person. Pre-booking essential. T: 0116 225 4920.

Stories from South Asia
Monday 28 August
11am – 11.45am & 2pm – 2.45pm

New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
Delve into historical tales of South Asia with professional storyteller Ruth Fraser. Free activity in support of the Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition. T: 0116 225 4900

Royal Portrait Drawing Activity
Monday 28 August
3pm – 4pm

New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
Pick up sketching materials from our friendly staff and draw your own royal portrait! Drop-in, free activity in support of Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition. T: 0116 225 4900

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UK INDIA Year of Culture 2017