The Splendour of India's Royal Courts at the V&A
Thrones, gem-encrusted weapons, a Rolls Royce... there's nothing particularly subtle about the world of the maharajas as explored in this major exhibition at the V&A, which covers the period from the collapse of the Mughal empire in the early eighteenth century to the end of British rule in 1947, when Indian princes acceded their territories into the modern states of India and Pakistan. But, as well as bringing on the bling, the show looks at the changing role and influence of the maharajas - politically and socially, in India and Europe - through their patronage of artists and designers. Paintings, photography, textiles, jewellery, metalwork and furniture are on show, many coming to the West for the first time, giving an indication of princely life and ideals, court culture and alliances.
Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, London, SW7 2RL