Sunday, January 3

Maharaja Click for more info

Despite having studied at Imperial for four years of my life (I'm not bitter, honest), I never once visited any of the museums around the vicinity. Sure, I had been to the Natural History and Science museums already as a child, but for some reason the Victoria and Albert always appeared as the poor neglected sibling. So when a couple of us decided to check out the Maharaja exhibition currently on show there, I saw it as a way to finally give it a visit.

Not that I really spent any time seeing anything other than the ticketed Maharaja rooms. To be honest the exhibition itself was pretty much what you would have expected: split into five themes (Royal Spectacle, Kingship, Shifting Power, The Raj, Princely India) we explored in more authentic detail all the stories and images us children of the sub-continent seem to have embedded in us already. It was quite surprising how well it all matched up, almost as if we were actually reading a fictional tale about India or something.

Interesting bits included a couple of dodgy sexually explicit pictures (all commissioned by the royal courts too) and some magnificent jewellery, but the thing that really hit home was how apparently easily some of those in power back then sold out to the British.

Of course such an exhibition would never be able to tell the whole complex story of pre and post British rule in India; but that wasn't really the point of this anyway. As a vivid and illustrating insight of how royalty lived over there for the past 200 years or so it did a fabulous job.

Overall though, I wouldn't say it was worth the asking price of £11 to get in; it only took me a leisurely 75 minutes to cover all of it in detail. However going in as a student (£6) or as one half of a Waterstone's 2-for-1 deal makes it a pretty decent way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Maharaja is running at the V&A till the 17th.

1 comment:

  1. I went a couple of weeks back and really liked it. As you say it was a nice way to spend the afternoon but we got in on the 241 I don't think I would pay £11 for it.