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The making of a show – Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts

May 25th, 2010

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind-the-scenes to bring a new exhibition to the AGO? Is it an exact copy of the original show? Do some pieces get left behind? Who decides what changes are made? How do visitors get to have their say before the show opens?

A royal procession

Image: Procession of Raja Ram Singh II of Kota and his son at Kota, c. 1850, © V&A Images/ Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Welcome to a new blog series dedicated to answering such questions for the upcoming November exhibition, Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts.  This is the North American debut of a show that first opened at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London last year.

I will be your blogger-in-residence (the palace blogger, perhaps?), your personal guide to the process of putting this exhibit together. In weekly posts, I’ll cover community consultations and meetings with the design team, look at some of the region’s history, and elaborate on a few of the 200 plus extraordinary works of art – paintings, photography, armour and jewellery – that will be on display.

We’ll have the chance to consider what these beautiful objects, which range from the beginning of the eighteenth century onwards, reveal about the role of kings whose powers were severely limited by the British colonial rule over India.

But most importantly, this blog is where you can start a conversation with us. What are your questions for the AGO team? What sort of programming to accompany the exhibit excites you? Perhaps you have a story about a personal link to a princely state or you have photos of the great palaces that can be uploaded to a Flickr stream that you can share with us.

I look forward to having you join me on a new way to experience an AGO exhibition!

Piali Roy is a Toronto freelance writer with a long-held interest in South Asian culture and history.

Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Court runs from November 20, 2010 until February 27, 2011.