Whether they are of Maharajahs, concubines or hunting elephants (a particular favourite of Hodgkin's), each one of these paintings is a fascinating commentary on a vanished golden age of Indian courtly life. And moreover, in addition to this documentary role, it is possible to view these exquisite objects from a contemporary perspective. In the irrepressible vitality and spatial integrity of these pictures, the keen-eyed viewer will detect, along with the richness of palette, other qualities which echo their owner's approach to his own work. This is a unique exhibition which, apart from introducing its audience to a too-little-known artistic tradition, also offers us the chance of a rare glimpse into the taste and aesthetic sensibility of one of Britain's leading painters.
Images of India 1850-1900 British Museum. To 3 Jul.
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