Showcasing the Fitzwilliam Museum’s significant but little-known collection of Indian paintings and drawings, From Kabul to Kolkata presents many works to the public for the first time.
Ranging from the 16th to the 19th century, this selection of miniatures explores some of the prominent themes that engaged patrons and artists in India in the early modern period, such as religious epic and myth, natural history and music.
It draws largely on works bequeathed to the Fitzwilliam in 1946 by Percival Chater Manuk, one of the pioneering collectors of Indian miniatures, as well as a sizeable album of watercolours of Mughal architecture donated much earlier, in 1843. The exhibition’s title indicates a number of links, representing at once the geographic reach of the Mughal Empire, the beginning and end of that dynasty’s interaction with art, and finally the range of the Fitzwilliam’s own collection in this field.
Presented in five chapters – history, religion and myth; animals and birds; portraiture; music and dance, and architecture – From Kabul to Kolkata forms part of Cambridge University’s wider celebrations to mark the UK-India Year of Culture 2017.