Friday, 29 December 2017

India Comes To Coventry - Visiting The V&A's Crafts Of The Punjab Exhibition

  
All dressed up and somewhere to go! This week has seemed almost interminable so when we realised that today was probably the last chance we'd get to visit an exhibition we'd set our hearts on seeing, it was the perfect opportunity to jump in the van and shake off the twixmas apathy.


 On loan from the V&A's South Asian Collection, Crafts of The Punjab is currently on display at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in Coventry (the UK's City of Culture for 2021), just a forty minute drive from Walsall.

  
Yes, I know we'll have unlimited access to the most amazing of Indian crafts, textiles and artifacts in just over a week's time but I don't believe anyone can have too much of a good thing!


Even the armour is gorgeous.


The helmet below was made in Lahore in 1850 and features plumes of heron feathers.

 


Early photograph of Lahore circa 1855.


Ceramics, carvings and an ivory perfume bottle.


This watercolour was painted by a 16 year old boy. 

WEARING: Vintage USA-Made Farah wool jacket, 1960s Tootal scarf  & brogue boots (charity shopped); navy skinnies (retail); Leather baker boy cap (End of the Road festival, 2015)

Jon jealously guarding a nineteenth century woven silk textile.





This choli, kurta and dupatta set date from 1855 and are made from silk embroidered with silver wrapped thread. The choli (blouse) is so tiny.



These watercolours, completed in Jaipur in 1905 were copied directly from carpets made in the Mogul royal carpet workshop in Lahore in 1600.


I nearly passed out when I saw this beauty! This silk and mirror work skirt dates from 1850. 


This rosewood carving formed part of an over-mantel in a British officer's home.


These gloriously colourful textiles were made over 140 years ago.



This gents bullion work ceremonial coat from Amritsar dates from around 1850.


This carved table and mirror date back to the days of Queen Victoria but you'll still find artisans employing the same techniques all over India today.


The highlight of the exhibition for me was Maharaja Ranjit Singh's golden throne, made between 1805 and 1810 in Lahore which, before partition, was the capital city of the Punjab.


These gold earrings featuring miniatures painted on ivory come a close second. Dating between 1850 -1900 they were made in Delhi and gifted to the V&A. A near identical pair turned up on the Antiques Roadshow last year and were valued at tens of thousands of pounds.


This Maharani makes me feel under-dressed!


This waist sash (patka) dates to around 1835 and was made in Kashmir.


These watercolours were samples of art painted directly on the walls of palaces.


Early photographs of Amritsar dating from 1850.


Wah! The next time we get up close and personal to Indian antiquities will be in India - I can hardly wait!



The Crafts of the Punjab runs until 21st January, 2018.


10am - 4pm Monday - Saturday, 12 - 4pm Sundays) Admission FREE

WEARING: 1970s Collier Campbell for Liberty, London wool maxi dress and marabou trimmed capelet (present from G&T); Vintage Pakistani bullion work on velvet tote bag (jumble sale); Felted wool hat & original 1970s suede platform boots (Charity shopped); Brass bangles (Inherited from my mum)

Thanks for reading and see you in 2018!

Updated to link to Patti & The Gang for Visible Monday and Judith for Hat Attack #54.

75 comments:

  1. The colors in the paintings and garments are stunning. Obviously stored with care.

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    1. Amazing to think some of those textiles are almost 200 years old, isn't it?

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  2. Oh myyyy!! The textiles, jewelry, and ceramics are gorgeous! I can't wait to read about your travels to India! It will be colorful and I know you and Jon will soak it all in. I do want to travel there to explore as much as I can. Thanks for sharing and I know this mini adventure is getting you prepared for your trip!

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    1. I can't wait to get there - I keep squealing to myself now! xxxx

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  3. What a beautiful exhibition. I went on a tour of the textiles in the Cathedral and the person who looks after the robes said that fabric woven with metal becomes very fragile as the metal cuts the other fibres.

    Not long now, it is something I look forward to, your posts about your adventures when you get back.

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    1. I hadn't thought of that but it makes perfect sense - I'm incredulous that some of those delicate textiles are still so vibrant and intact, I'd love to know how the V&A preserve them. xxx

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  4. ooohhh - all the beauty!!
    i made *wonderful**marvelous**fantastic**awesome***** the whole time while reading this post!
    thank you for taking me with you - do you think its possible the V&A will loan the exhibition to dresden?
    you both look fab as ever!
    xxxx

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    1. Dresden is Coventry's twin city so I think we ought to suggest it. I thought of you the whole time I was in there ! xxx

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  5. You look so elegant -I think you must have been the most stylish lady to visit x

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  6. So many beautiful artifacts. I still thoroughly love your tote bag, so pretty and it goes with anything

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    1. Thank you! I can get loads in that bag - perfect for some impromptu charity shopping, which I haven't done in over a week!

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  7. The patterns and textiles are a perfect antidote to the winter grey. Soon though you'll escape these northern climes for the real thing.
    I'm already looking forward to the visual feast you will, hopefully, serve up on your return! Here's hoping you have a fantastic time. xxx

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    1. It was a feast for the eyes after such a gloomy few days, I can tell you!
      I'm already excited about India and what I might see - my poor camera's going to be on permanent charge! xxx

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  8. What an fabulous exhibition and right up your street (in both senses) too! A perfect prologue for your holiday too! That silk and mirror work skirt is stunning. I can well believe you almost passed out. Glad to see that wool maxi and capelet making another outing. I'm as in love with it as when I first laid eyes on it. Perfect for lifting that twixmas apathy! xxx

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    1. It was a lovely way to spend the morning and has got me all excited and fired up for our hols - a nice change from charity shopping! xxx

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  9. beautiful pieces. I can imagine you wearing that skirt. Only 40 minutes away? Lucky you. We went back to The Dali Museum the other day.....3 1/2 hours one way.

    Enjoy India, and see you sometime in 2018

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    1. That Dali Museum was well worth the 3 and a half hour trip - the photos were wonderful. I went to the one in Figueres in Spain back in the 1980s - I ought to go back, it was spectacular! xxx

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  10. Oh my goodness, what a feast for the eyes that was! I was almost dribbling at some of the items; the jewellery, the fabrics, that skirt, the paintings all amazingly fabulous.

    Your outfit is gorgeous and you fitted right in with all the beauties on display.

    Hope you and Jon have a fab New Year!

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    1. A real feast for the eyes, isn't it? It's only a small exhibition which is probably a good thing, I think much more of that beauty might have made my head explode!
      Wishing you lots of joy and happiness for 2018!

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  11. I loved all of your post but the watercolours most of all, especially the one by the sixteen year old, so much colour and pattern. Your outfit today is beautiful. Only a week until your trip, bet you can't sleep!

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    1. The watercolour by the teenager was incredible - to have a skill like that at such a young age! xxx

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  12. You need a throne like that at home. Hell, I need a throne like that! Jon's coat reminds me of the sort my dad wore in the 60's.

    Best of everything to both of you in 2018.

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    1. We both need a throne like that - maybe the V&A could let us share it!
      Loads of love to you, Mr ETB and Danny for 2018. xxx

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  13. I must say both you and Jon are looking extra fabulous lately.

    I showed the photo of Jon wearing his great hat and explained to my husband what a difference it makes. It's not that my husband doesn't own a whole bunch of great hats, it's just that he rarely wears them. He is more of a collector than a wearer which is such a shame.

    The patterns and watercolours are stunning.

    That throne is something else!

    Happy New Year you two!

    Suzanne

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    1. Robert would look wonderful in one of those Peaky Blinders hats, he's such a cool dude. Hats really do finish off an outfit and, in my case, are utterly brilliant for adding much needed height and hiding the most terrible root regrowth ever!
      Happy New Year, Suzanne, Robert & Zoe! xxx

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  14. Wow! Indian fashionsare so timelessly gorgeous- that's why I love them!
    Thanks for taking us with you to that exhibition.
    xox

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    1. Exactly - timelessly gorgeous- all of those clothes (and that jewellery) could easily be worn today. Western fashion, by comparison, is so quickly outdated and dull! xxx

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  15. What color. I like the layers that the Maharani has.
    Coffee is on

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  16. If you have a passion for something, you can never have too much of it. I bet you are so looking forward to the warmth and everything else your next Indian adventures has on offer for you. All the very best for 2018!!!

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    1. Thanks, Sue! Much as I adore the art, people, culture and food of India I think I'm particularly excited about escaping these endless dark, damp days most of all. xxx

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  17. What a treat for the eyes this exhibition was, utterly beautiful. Absolutely love your marabou trimmed cape! Bring on 2018,I hope it's a corker xx

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    1. Thank you!! You and I do love a cape, don't we?
      Here's to a fab 2018! xxx

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  18. What a beautiful exhibition...the colours are glorious. Being a girl who's definitely more drawn to the colder climes, what first drew you to India?
    Arilx

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    1. Growing up in multi-cultural Walsall I had loads of school friends with parents originally from India and Pakistan - visiting their homes were an endless source of fascination - the food, the clothes their mothers' wore, the Bollywood films they'd have on video and the decor and visiting the temples and gurdwaras in the town were far more interesting and welcoming than the staid old Christian churches. xxx

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  19. in my dating days prior to mr bah humbug , an earstwhile suitor took me to The Royal Armouries at Leeds, he was a nice enough bloke, tad boring but ex military so happy to be there , till we got to the Japanese section where i whipped out my notebook and started sketching construction of padded armour notes and japanese embroidery designs . He lost me in the India section for over an hour ...lol ...we never had another date ..lol ..this was pre mobile phone pictures

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    1. I love Japanese armour, there were some incredible pieces in the Asian museum we visited in Corfu, I can't get over how tiny some of the pieces look.
      Walsall Art Gallery still has piles of paper and pencils in case visitors get inspired by what they've seen. x

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  20. What are the things next to the helmet with those plumes. Poor old sod with poor eyesight can't work it out! xx

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    1. Ha! They're gauntlets - the hand part is chain mail. x

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  21. Thank you for sharing these glimpses of Indian history with us, Vix. What a wonderful way to clear your eyes to see the bits of past glories that may remain.

    Do you ever sketch? I lost the battle with water colors long ago, but perhaps someday....

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    1. My pleasure, Beth. Glad you enjoyed the exhibition.
      I haven't attempted to draw since I was at school but, funnily enough, I was thinking about giving it another go! x

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  22. That watercolour by a sixteen year old blow really blew me way! That boy has got a serious talent. The exhibition as a whole is rather gorgeous. Thank you for sharing it with us. Indians in their traditional costumes, well they make everyone feel under-dressed, don't they? They do have an amazing clothing history (and culture) so it is always fun to learn more about it.


    Your outfit is absolutely gorgeous! I love how you paired blue with blue (dress and gloves). Those different shades of blue fit together perfectly. Finally, the golden touches are beautiful. Lovely golden bracelets and bag!

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    1. Didn't that young man have a talent? I wonder what became of him - hopefully success!
      Indian women always look so elegant, even the poorest of ladies with just one sari manage to look vibrant and beautiful.They often remark on how drab we Western women dress when we're so wealthy in comparison. I do my best to bring a bit of colour and glamour on my travels to India! xxx

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  23. P.S. Jon looks stylish as well. I like his coat. You two make for a lovely couple!

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  24. I absolutely love that colour combo on your dress, it is so vibrant. Those huge paintings make wonderful backdrops for you and Jon. That skirt is amazing, it looks in such fabulous condition! Are you sure you didn't try to sneak any of the exhibits out? Have a fab holiday and a great New Year xxx

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    1. Thank you! Can't beat turquoise and purple together!
      I was very tempted to "borrow" some of those pieces - hopefully we'll find a few things similar on our travels next week!
      Happy New Year! xxx

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  25. I wish you had someone take a pic of you together!!!! You both look cuteaf in your outfits!!!!! Amazing art pieces <3

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    1. I never think of asking people to take our photo together - after 25 years there's still not that many of us together! xxx

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  26. What a marvellous tour you gave us Viv. Can’t wait to see what you post when you get back. Wow do I like your bag. Have a terrific time.

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    1. Thanks, sally and a Happy New Year! xxx

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  27. An amazing collection, I bet you and Jon were going round saying "I'd love that..and that.." That inlaid mirror is gorgeous - It would look great on my wall! Happy New year to you both xx

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    1. Happy New Year, Liza!! That was us - the throne, all the textiles, the jewellery, a sitar shaped like a peacock. It kept the assistants amused! xxx

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  28. what a fabulous exhibition, love all those textiles and the carved objects and furniture!, everything looks so well made and delicate. It's amazing that colors are still brilliant!
    And you look really appropriate and cool, love Jon's jacket and your fabulous dress with matching gloves!, and a capelet! Gorgeous!
    Have a fab time, dear lady!
    besos

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    1. Happy New Year, Monica! I'm glad you enjoyed the exhibition. It's hard to believe the age of some of those textiles, isn't it? xxx

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  29. India's calling! Gorgeous exhibit. I loved the photo of you in front of the busy street - what a vision! And the ceremonial coat would find a perfect place in my wardrobe.
    Happy New Year!

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  30. Textiles are gorgeous! And the 16 year old boy's watercolor is amazing! What a great way to prepare for your trip!

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    1. Hello, my friend!! Aren't those textiles fab? So vibrant. That watercolour took my breath away. If I needed something to get me even more excited about India then this exhibition was it! xxx

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  31. Absolutely gorgeous exhibition. The artistry and craftsmanship is mind-blowing but then again I always do think that about Indian art and textiles. Talking of which the embroidery and the colours. Wow! I would have to be surgically removed from the gallery. I could look at them for hours. Thank you so much for sharing these. They are the perfect antidote to a miserable New Year's Day. You and Jon are looking as stylish as ever. Your outfit is utterly glorious. The colours and the maribou trim are just fab. Happy New Year to you and Jon. Wishing you both a magical and joyous 2018. Xx

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    1. I wondered how easy it is for you to get to Coventry. I've only been a handful of times and now it's been awarded City Of Culture status I reckon it's going to get even better.
      Wishing you a brilliant 2018! It was a joy to meet you last year. xxx

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  32. Wow - the artifacts and fabrics are so bewitching! That skirt from 1850 has me feeling dizzy with desire. And you look fab, natch! Happy new year to you and Jon, xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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    1. Happy New Year, dear Patti!
      Can you believe that skirt was so old? that's what I call timeless style! xxx

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  33. I hope you were a good Vix and left that skirt where you found it... I'd have loved that mirror and little shelf. Such beautifully made things.

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    1. I could have got away with it if the gallery assistant wasn't a blog reader!!!

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  34. Goodness, what amazing art that is! And there you are, Vix and Jon, fitting right in, so perfect. Wishing you both (and your furry fam!) a very Happy New Year, and all the best for 2018. Hugs, Sheila

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    1. Loads of love to you and yours, Sheila! Happy 2018! xxx

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  35. What a marvellous prelude to your trip. Happy New Year and happy travels!
    xx

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  36. Wow, so much delicious eye candy, including your wool maxi-dress and matching capelet. That skirt is most definitely swoon-worthy!

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    1. I love that skirt! I do hope I can find its twin on my travels!

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  37. Who doesn't love a marabou trimmed caplet. Thanks for taking us along on your viewing of this magnificent exhibit. And I can't wait to read about your trip to India!

    Your ensemble, including your hat, are amazing! Thank you so much for sharing with Hat Attack!

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    1. Thanks, Judith! Happy to be part of your hat gang!

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  38. So what you're saying is that you visited the place where I can go pick up all of my new home decor and fashion, yes?

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Love from Vix
xxx