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Colonial and Indian Exhibition

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Colonial and Indian Exhibition

The Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886 was a very substantial exhibition held in South Kensington in London, and intended (in the words of the then Prince of Wales) "to stimulate commerce and strengthen the bonds of union now existing in every portion of her Majesty's Empire". The exhibition was opened by Queen Victoria, and when it closed had received 5.5 million visitors.


It was housed in a collection of purpose-built buildings designed in an Indian style.


Exhibits shown included a Māori tomb from New Zealand, a ceremonial sword from the colony of Lagos, a grasshopper swatter from the Straits Settlements, and Albert Bierstadt's painting of the Bahama Islands After A Norther was displayed in the West Indian gallery, and admired by the Prince of Wales

The India artware section was split into different areas representing the different princely states. The Rajputana entrance was a large Jaipur gate constructed of and provided by the then Maharaja of Jaipur. The Gwalior gateway which had been displayed at the Calcutta International Exhibition (1883) was loaned by the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Several dozen Indians were imported, reputedly from Agra jail, to serve as living exhibits; they were described as artisans, it appears that they were trained in their crafts as part of the British Empire's long-term project to 'reform the criminal castes'.


The Jaipur Gate built for the exhibition was renovated in 2004, and is on display at the Hove Museum and Art Gallery


Colonial and Indian Exhibition Wikipedia