About the Lockwood Kipling exhibition

Produced as part of Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London

On now until Sunday, 2 April 2017

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Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London is the first major exhibition on the career and international legacy of John Lockwood Kipling (1837 – 1911).

The 19th-century Arts and Crafts revival in British India is a fascinating chapter in the international history of art and design, but Lockwood Kipling's role and lasting impact as artist, writer, teacher, curator and conservationist has received little attention. The Arts and Crafts movement shaped his career, with its emphasis on promoting skilled craftsmanship in the face of industrialisation. This philosophy underpinned the creation of the South Kensington Museum (today the V&A), where Kipling worked as an architectural sculptor before moving to India in 1865. To supplement his income, Kipling worked freelance as a journalist for the British and Indian press. He also made a series of sketches of craftspeople and village customs, commissioned by the British government.

Kipling about 1
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Kipling's career was divided across four places: London, Mumbai, Lahore and Tisbury (Wiltshire). He spent most of his professional life in Lahore as Principal of the College of Art and Director of the Museum, before retiring to England, where he worked as a book illustrator and designer until his death in 1911.

Kipling about 3
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This exhibition explores the legacy of Kipling's collecting and curatorial practices in Bombay (now Mumbai), Lahore and South Kensington. It examines the restructuring of arts education to draw on traditional craft and design practices and local models in British India. The commercial potential of Indian crafts was at the heart of British interests at this time and the subject of much controversy and debate. Kipling clashed with other leading figures over the best way to support Indian traditions, campaigning through his professional positions and publications. His work as a designer culminated in two royal commissions in England. In partnership with his colleague Bhai Ram Singh, he created Indian-style rooms for the British royal family at Bagshot Park in Surrey and at Osborne – Queen Victoria's summer residence on the Isle of Wight.

Kipling about 5
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This exhibition is the fourth in a series of major research collaborations between the Bard Graduate Center (BGC) in New York and the V&A that re-examine key protagonists in British design and architecture through exhibitions and landmark publications.

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