Visiting Touring Exhibitions
Splendours of the Subcontinent – A Prince’s Tour of India 1875-6
In August I had the opportunity to visit the ‘Splendours of the Subcontinent – A Prince’s Tour of India 1875-6’ whilst it is exhibiting at New Walk Museum, Leicester. This is a Royal Collection exhibition showcasing the amazing array of gifts presented to the His Royal Highness (HRH), Prince of Wales on his Royal Tour of the Indian Subcontinent in 1875. It was developed in collaboration with Cartwright Hall, Bradford and New Walk Museum, Leicester.
Despite requesting no gifts to be presented during his four month tour, the Prince of Wales still received a great many. This was because they showcased the unique craftsmanship and skills found in this part of the world. Before HRH had even arrived back home, he had already created a plan for the collection to be put on public display. He wanted to show people what amazing skills could be found in the Indian Subcontinent, in the hope that they would inspire art and design. The objects would go on display in the Indian Museum in South Kensington, now part of the Victoria & Albert Museum, a museum founded to show art to the people of the UK. The objects were also displayed in an exhibition in Paris.
As an exhibition, it is very cleverly designed in order to have information relating to the Royal Collection and the tour itself side by side with a local perspective on the subject matter. These interpretative additions to the exhibition make it even more appealing to different audiences with different interest levels. The colour difference in the panels also helps the narrative, as you can easily identify the next part of the story.
A Bit of Fun
As all great exhibitions are, this one is broken up by a fun activity. In this case, it was the ‘Make Your Own Royal Portrait’ section. Simply explained on one A3 board, a corner of the gallery becomes a portrait studio from the late 1800s for all visitors with a smart phone or camera. A simple and clever way to get people involved in the exhibition, it doubles as a way to generate social media interest, as it asks you to share your portraits with the Museum on Twitter.
This exhibition was of an extremely high standard and despite filling just one gallery, I spent nearly two hours engrossed in everything. I could have spent even longer just studying the objects in greater detail, they are so intricate and show an amazing level of craftsmanship. It also great to be able to see The Royal Collection away from the official Royal Residences. This opens up opportunities for a much wider variety of people to visit and enjoy the exhibition. If you do get a chance to visit this exhibition, do – it’s one that is not to be missed.
The Splendours of the Subcontinent exhibition is on display at New Walk Museum, Leicester 29th until October 2017. It will be displayed again at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse 15th December 2017 – 15th April 2018.
Images were taken by the author during her trip to the exhibition for this purpose only, other information can be found here:
By Siân Fox, Resilience Syndicate Intern