Some of the finest Indian treasures from the Royal Collection go 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.
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 - personal treasuries - while others were specially commissioned from local artisans.
Recognising the cultural and artistic merit of the gifts he had received, the Prince made arrangements for the items to be placed on public display when he returned to Britain, first at the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum), and later in Paris and at museums across the UK.