Caspar Purdon Clarke (1846-1911): Collecting India in the 19th Century

Lucy Dale's picture
February 28, 2023
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Asian History / Studies, British History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, South Asian History / Studies

Date and Time: 28 February 2023 | 5.15pm - 6.30pm

In November 1880, architect Caspar Purdon Clarke was sent on a purchasing expedition to acquire Indian artefacts for the South Kensington Museum (now the V&A). Before he embarked on his voyage, his superiors provided him with a detailed itinerary and a special uniform to wear when presenting himself to Indian princes.

Having travelled across the subcontinent for about two years, Purdon Clarke sent back 3,400 items to London. His most notable acquisition was a set of illustrations called the Hamzanama, made during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar, which he famously bought at a curiosity shop in Srinagar in Kashmir, where they were being used as window coverings.

What other artefacts did he send back to London? How did he bring them back? Who did he encounter on his travels? How did he display these new acquisitions? How does the V&A curate them today?

In this free online talk, Ekta Raheja (V&A Museum) will unravel Caspar Purdon Clarke’s journey in South Asia and his career as designer and first Keeper of the India Museum and Oriental Section in South Kensington.

Event Details

This event is free and open to everyone, and will take place via Zoom. There is no need to book; please click on the link below shortly before 5.15pm on the day.

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Contact Info: 

Lucy Dale

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