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Court to Court: Contact, Conflict and Costly Gifts – The British Monarchy and India, 1600-1947

April 23 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

£20.00 – £63.50

BACSA Lecture, Tuesday 23 April 2024, 6pm

‘Court to Court: Contact, Conflict and Costly Gifts – The British Monarchy and India, 1600-1947’ – BACSA is sponsoring this fascinating lecture on Indian objects in the Royal Collection (details below).

King George V and Queen Mary at
the Delhi Durbar, 1911

George Percy Jacomb-Hood (Royal
Collection Trust / © HM King Charles III)

The lecture will be held at the East India Club, 16 St James Square, London SW1Y 4LH, where the East India Room displays an important collection of portraits of Indian rulers and British soldiers and administrators associated with India. It will be preceded at 6 pm by drinks (cash bar) in the East India Room, and followed by a three course dinner and coffee there afterwards.

From throne canopies commissioned for the Delhi Durbar of 1911 to diamond-studded shields presented during royal tours, Indian works of art have long expressed relations between Britain and India. Many were presented during carefully choreographed moments of courtly exchange, such as durbars. Others were collected by members of the royal family curious about the wider world. Still others reflect the complex dynamics of conflict and empire. In each instance, they demonstrate the finest materials and techniques, honed by craftsmen from across the subcontinent. These dazzling specimens served as important tools for Indian courtly expression and agency across three turbulent centuries.

Necklace in an Indian style, made
c.1878 by Phillips Brothers and Sons
from jewellery presented by Indian
(Royal Collection Trust / © HM
King Charles III)

Richly illustrated by items in the Royal Collection, this lecture will consider how gift-giving and royal collecting visualised the bonds between Britain and India. Many Indian gifts were later worn physically by members of the British Royal Family, or used to adorn the walls of royal residences. As such, they shaped the tastes of generations of British royalty – as well as holding vital political meanings. This talk will explore how these items became symbols of broader relations between respective courts – both treasured and contested.

The lecture will be given by Rachel Peat Underhill, Curator of Decorative Arts at Royal Collection Trust. She is responsible for the research and display of 13,000 world cultures objects in the British Royal Collection, which are held by The King in trust for the nation.

Queen Victoria’s sons Prince Arthur and Prince Alfred in the costume
of Sikh Princes, 1854

Photo: Dr Ernest Becker (Royal Collection Trust / © HM King Charles III)

Notes will be available on the portraits in the East India Room, kindly provided by Dr Rosie Llewellyn-Jones MBE.

Booking and payment details

The lecture is open to BACSA members only. The cost of the lecture is £20; an Indian-themed dinner of three courses with coffee is £43.50. Drinks are extra and payable at the time. Bookings and payment for either the lecture alone, or lecture and dinner, can be made online under the Events tab on the BACSA website. If payment by bank transfer or cheque is preferred, please contact Rosemary Raza at events@bacsa.org.uk.The booking deadline is 14 April 2024.

To join BACSA, please visit the Join page on the website.

Rosemary Raza


April 23
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
£20.00 – £63.50
Event Category:


East India Club
16 St James's Square
London,SW1Y 4LHUnited Kingdom
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020 7930 1000
View Venue Website


Rosemary Raza


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