The Indian gallery in the world famous Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the largest museum of decorative arts and designs, is all set to unwrap the history of the erstwhile kingdom of Oudh and its capital Lucknow, the city of Nawabs.
According to the museum authorities, plans are afoot to give a distinct look to the Indian gallery with artifacts from Oudh and Mughal courts and other parts of India. The Indian gallery is a part of South and South-East Asia section which comprises nearly 60,000 objects, including 10,000 textiles and 6,000 paintings.
“It’s a big move which V&A Museum is planning this July,” said Susan Stronge, a senior curator with V&A’s Asian Department.
Stronge has specialised in Mughal arts and authored several books like ‘Tipu’s Tigers Move to South India’ and ‘Late 18th Century Court of Tipu Sultan’, highlighting the intriguing story of his famous wooden ‘man-tiger-organ’ and its travels from Mysore to the museum—said that the transformation would showcase the rich Oudhi culture and its sophisticated nawabs.
“Nawabi era metal artifacts, largely the bidri ware, a kind of metallic ware composed of zinc, tin, and lead with gold and silver inlay work, textile work, furniture and water-colour paintings would be well highlighted,” said Stronge, who was on her maiden visit to the state capital on Wednesday.
An opaque water colour painting (acquired from Faizabad)of Nawab Shuja-Ud-Daula of Oudh that portrays the Nawab in Afghan dress, a drawing showing a panoramic view of Lucknow which was sketched in 1832 by artists Smith and Robert Captain, a photograph of the Mall Avenue Cemetery in Lucknow possibly of the 1850s , a photograph of the Qaiser Pasand cemetery of the 1850s and a photograph of Chhatar Manzil with its reflection in the river Gomti are among the paintings and photographs that would be highlighted in the planned make-over.
“Since water colours have been used in many paintings, it would be ensured that they are not placed under sunlight as the colours may fade Such paintings would get special placement,” she added.