Sunday, 17 January 2016

Bejewelled Treasures - My visit to The Al Thani Collection

 A recent visit to London took me back to the Victoria & Albert Museum (you may have read about my visit to the Fabric of India Exhibition last year). Continuing with V&A India festival, another special exhibition which they have open right now is the Bejwelled Treasures - The Al Thani Collection.

Read on to see my highlights from the exhibition and why you should visit.

Previously on show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the treasures in this collection span 400 years of Indian history and whilst most of the items now belong to collector Sheikh Hamad Bin Abdullah Al Thani, there are a few pieces on loan from the Queen.

This beautiful gold and diamond circular hair piece dates back to around 1850-1900.

As well as traditional jewellery like the above from North India, late nineteenth century, there exhbition also covered the influence of Western styles in jewellery tastes.

One of the contemporary pieces which I found really striking was this Art Deco brooch:

#BejewelledTreasures for the week. Brooch, designed by Paul Iribe and made by Robert Linzeler, Paris, 1910 with carved...
Posted by Victoria and Albert Museum on Thursday, 7 January 2016

A name I saw appear more than once within the exhibition was Anita Delgado, a Spanish girl who married an Indian maharaja in 1908 and had a very enviable jewellery collection, including the peacock brooch that appears on the exhibition posters and a hairpiece featuring an unusual crescent-shaped emerald.

Aside from the jewellery, the other key item which I was fascinated by and really caught my imagination was Tipu Sultan's Magic Box. You can't tell the size from this photo, but it's quite a small item and each of the 20 triangular sides has an arabic number insribed on it.

The Bejewelled Treasures - The Al Thani Collection is on at the V&A in London until the 28th
 March 2016. Standard tickets cost £10 (+ an optional donation of £1 towards the Museum). Find out more about the exhibition and book tickets here.

All photos via The V&A website and V&A Facebook page.

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