“Splendours of the Subcontinent” at The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh | BLOUIN ARTINFO
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“Splendours of the Subcontinent” at The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh

Service of State or durbar set, which contains ceremonial objects such as an attardan (perfume holder), rosewater sprinklers and a paandan (betel-nut holder).
(Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017.)

The gifts one English prince received on state tours are currently being exhibited in Edinburgh. The Queen’s Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse is hosting “Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Price’s Tour of India 1875-6” until late April 2018.

The show features works of Indian art that were brought to Britain at the end of the 19th century for the first time in over 130 years. The exhibition explores Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) to the Indian subcontinent and brings together examples of Indian design and craftsmanship, presented to the Prince as part of the traditional exchange of gifts. Before the declaration of Queen Victoria as Empress of India, the royal tour was an opportunity to establish personal and diplomatic links with local Indian rulers and sought to strengthen ties between the Subcontinent and the British Crown.

As was the custom in India the guests were presented with gifts from their hosts. The gifts included a gold service given by the Maharaja of Mysore. This set of 10 pieces, which was often referred to as the “Service of State” during the tour, contains ceremonial objects such as an attardan (perfume holder), rosewater sprinklers and a pandan (betel-nut holder). These are items associated with welcoming guests in India. By the end of the tour, the Prince had received over 2,000 gifts from the local rulers he had met.

“Splendours of the Subcontinent: A Prince's Tour of India 1875–6” runs from December 15, 2017, through April 22, 2018, at The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Canongate, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH8 8DX, United Kingdom.

For details, visit: https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/

Click on the slideshow for a sneak peek at the exhibition.