Thousands of miles separate London from India, yet the links between the two are very strong. With a new film, Victoria & Abdul, being launched in the cinemas this autumn, and new exhibitions underways, we take a look at those links.
India’s art and culture has long had an influence on British culture. Brighton’s Royal Pavilion bears witness to this, with its domes and brilliant décor influenced by Mughal styles. Likewise Queen Victoria’s home on at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight is ornamented by intricate Indian style art.
London was the greatest port of Victoria’s Empire. Book a stay in serviced apartments Central London and explore the Museum of Docklands to see amazing displays illustrating how the port developed, to create a major gateway for trade with India.
The British Museum has a massive collection of items relating to India as does the Victoria & Albert Museum. A new permanent display is due to open later this year at the British Museum telling the story of India from pre-history to the present day.
Just a short tube ride from beautiful Presidential Apartments Kensington is the Victoria & Albert Museum in Kensington that forms part of a trio of museums which were part of Queen Victoria and her consort’s Prince Albert’s grand design for the area. These three museums are the Natural History Museum, The Science Museum and the V&A Museum. All three contain a wide range of items relating to India.
The V&A specializes in art and culture, fashion and jewellery. Strolling round its galleries, you can see many exquisite examples from the Indian subcontinent. One of its most famous items is Ipu’s Tiger – an almost life-size semi automation dating back over a hundred years which shows a European soldier being mauled by a tiger.
The Natural History Museum contains hundreds of beautiful examples of Indian art showing animals and flowers from the area, all of which were originally commissioned by members of the East India Company during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Surrounded by several serviced apartments London, the Natural History Museum is launching a special exhibition this autumn entitled Illuminating India. It focuses on photography of India from the nineteenth century onwards, as well as scientific thought and innovation.
Over at Kensington Palace, there is an exhibition about Victoria herself, using her own words as written in her journals. It provides an intimate account of her life. She was very familiar with Kensington Palace, as this is where she was born and grew up. As Queen, she ruled from Buckingham Palace and was crowned in Westminister Abbey.
None of these buildings were actually used for the filming of this latest production about her life. Victoria & Abdul was partly filmed at Ham House, in Richmond. This is an imposing property, located about half an hour outside central London and can be easily reached by train or the underground.