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Middle East

 BejewelLed Treasures: The Al Thani Collection

 

Treasure india 1

Tiger Finial from the Throne of Tippoo Sultan (1750-1799), Mysore India, Circa 1790 Gold inlaid with Diamonds, Rubies and Emeralds -  Image Courtsey | Alex Boyle, AAD

 “The earliest known example of Mughal jade; spectacularly large spinels inscribed with the names of emperors from the Mughal treasuries; a jeweled gold tiger’s head finial from the throne of the famed Tipu Sultan of Mysore and a dazzling brooch inspired by Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes made in Paris 1910 are amoung the treasures on display for the first time in the UK, as part of the V & A’s new exhibition bejewelled Treasures; The Al Thani Collection.”

V&A

Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 23.47.39

After an appearance at the Metropolitan Museum of Art last year, and reviewed here on AAD, the Al Thani Collection of Prized Artifacts and Jewellry from Mogul India has made its way to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. While sponsored by Wartski, whom we like, there was an annoying request / order at the press preview to credit Wartski with every single photograph taken by yours truly at the preview. Well, that won't happen. We love Wartski, but they didn’t take the photos, and they don’t own the copyright, because that is what a credit would imply.

We thought that the Al Thanis were rich, but I guess not as rich as we thought, because it seems that now they are leaning on our friends Wartski to pick up the tab on this show.

I guess even petro dollar Sheiks feel the squeeze when oil drops from $120 a barrel down to $40. Let's be honest here, it's not like the Al Thanis did any of the prospecting themselves. They did at one point in time hit a mother load of oil and natural gas which gave them the money to buy up this treasure trove, however.

Now you understand why this show is here, and why we were annoyed when all we wanted to do was to photograph these objects, and tell you about the marvellous items and the history of some of the objects on view in the exhibition, which include two pieces from the magnificent Throne of Tippoo Sultan; a stunning jewel encrusted tigers head as seen in NYC, and the astonishing Huma Bird (one of three pieces on UK Treasury loan to the exhibition) from the canopy of Tippoo Sultan’s famed Throne.

We are awaiting the promised answers to our questions from the Victoria and Albert PR department as to why we were not allowed to photograph the three Treasury on loan pieces. Do these items not belong to the nation, and therefore the people of the UK? Why no photographs allowed, and what will happen to those who whip in a quick selfie at the show in the course of the next few months? The Treasury loan pieces were the first pieces you see in the ‘Bejewelled Treasures: The Al Thani Collection’ exhibition, and arguably the ‘best’ pieces in the exhibition, which somewhat overshadowed the entrance to the collection, and the items which we were really excited about seeing.

In addition, the Huma Bird being rather poorly positioned in the exhibition, and in essence, taking the spotlight away from Tippoo Sultan’s Magic Box and the Tiger Finial from the Throne of Tippoo Sultan, with both these works essentially being placed underneath the Huma Bird’s behind, in a spotlight lit cabinet. Whomever it was charged with the visual layout of these three extraordinary and exceptional objects, might like to consider moving a few things around, prior to the public opening.

That said, the Bejewelled Treasures: The Al Thani Collection exhibition is a unique and glorious opportunity to see, view and experience some of, if not the most extraordinary and finest pieces of Mogul History in private hands. A once in a lifetime expression of passionate targeted collecting, on view for the benefit of all to appreciate, and learn from, for a £10.00 entrance fee. Very much worth the fee and definitely worth a visit.

With the presence of Christies at the MET’s New York opening reception clearly meaning that they have their eyes on these works, and with an exhibition layout in London being reminiscent of an auction view, this is another writer who hopes the “Tippoo Sultan” works stay together in the current hands of His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Abdullah Al-Thani.

Entrance Fee : £10.00

Exhibition Dates : 21 November 2015 – 28 March 2016

Location : Victoria and Albert Museum

Cromwell Rd, London SW7 2RL,

United Kingdom

Open daily from 10:00 to 17:45

Open Friday from 10:00 to 22:00

 

Treasure india 2Tippoo Sultan's Magic Box, Mysore, India, Circa 1789-1798, Gold, Each of the twenty equilateral faces bears a number in Arabic Used as common factors in Euclidean Geometry Pioneered by the Ancient Greeks - Image Courtesy | Alex Boyle, AAD

 Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 17.50.47 copy Example of early Mughal Jade - Image Courtesy | Alex Boyle, AAD

 Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 22.02.34Turban Jewellry, Jaipur or Hyderbad 19th Century - Gold and Silver set with Diamonds and with Pendent Spinels, Enamelled on the back - Author's own image

Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 22.03.15Locket Pendant, Mughul India, 17th Century, Gold Inlaid with Rubies and Emeralds - Image Courtesy | Alex Boyle

Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 22.04.08A Ceremonial Sword Circa 1880 - 1910. Hyderbad - Author's own Image

Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 22.03.33The Gold hilt set with Diamonds, Rubies and Emeralds - Author's own Image

Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 21.59.41Turban Jewellry, possibly Hyderbad - Gold set with Emeralds and Diamonds - Author's own image

Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 22.00.11A showcase of fiine jewellry in the Exhibition - Author's own image

The Nabha Spinel. Royal Collection Trust Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015The Nabha Spinel - Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 18.09.14 copyNecklace 19th or 20th Century, possibly Hyderbad - Gold set with Diamonds and an Emerald bead, Enamelled on the edges - Image Courtesy | Alex Boyle

Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 22.34.29Necklace possibly circa 1900, probably Hyderbad - Gold and Silver set with foiled Emeralds and Diamonds, the chord ends wrapped with Natural Pearls - Image Courtesy | Alex Boyle

Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 22.37.42Sapphire and Diamond Turban ornament (sarpech), India, ca.1920; modified ca.1925 - 35 - Image Courtesy | Alex Boyle

 Tiger one miniTiger Finial from the Throne of Tippoo Sultan (1750-1799), Mysore India, Circa 1790 Gold inlaid with Diamonds, Rubies and Emeralds

Screen Shot 2015 11 21 at 23.02.28Huma Bird  - Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015

Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 17.21.31Front view of the Throne of Tippoo Sultan, text by Benjamin Sydenham, drawings by Thomas Marriott - Wikipedia

Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 17.21.44 copyTop View - The Throne of Tippoo Sultan

Screen Shot 2015 11 21 at 19.45.30Tippoo

Screen Shot 2015 11 19 at 23.47.39

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About the Author

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee

Elliot Lee founded his antique business in 1994. Having bought his first Antique piece at the tender age of eleven, it has since then been his passion for Antiques, Fine Art, and aesthetically beautif...