This evening I attended the private view and opening dinner at the V&A for Bejewelled Treasures, an astonishing exhibition of highlights from the collection of Sheikh Hamad Al-Thani, alongside a small number of loans from the Royal Collection. It was an event of appropriate magnificence: an ice sculpture in the entrance hall, a full orchestra, the waiters in white tie and decorations looking grander than the guests (actually, that’s not quite true as there were several representatives of the Qatari ruling family, as well as a few Maharinis, not to mention the Prince of Wales).
This was the ice sculpture:-
The exhibition opened with the Turban aigrette of the Maharaja of Nawanagar, dating from the 1930s:-
The Queen has lent the Huma bird from the canopy of Tipu Sultan’s throne, siezed after the British stormed Seringapatam in 1799:-
I think this is a jade cup on top of a fly whisk:-
A rock crystal decanter, unknown provenance:-
A silk embroidered sash used as the trappings of an elephant:-
A nice choker made by Cartier for the Maharaja of Patiala in 1931:-
This was the era when my father was a district commissioner in east Bengal.