Lock­wood Ki­pling: Arts and Crafts in the Pun­jab and Lon­don

Malta Independent - - LIFESTYLE ON SATURDAY -

Ki­pling (1837 – 1911), an artist, teacher, cu­ra­tor and in­flu­en­tial fig­ure in the Arts and Crafts move­ment. Lock­wood Ki­pling was a so­cial cam­paigner for the preser­va­tion of In­dian crafts, a crafts­man whose ter­ra­cotta pan­els can still be seen on the ex­te­rior of the V&A and was an il­lus­tra­tor of books by his son, the renowned writer Rud­yard Ki­pling. Lock­wood Ki­pling: Arts and Crafts

in the Pun­jab and Lon­don ex­plores the his­tory of the V&A’s col­lec­tions through the life of Lock­wood Ki­pling who played a sig­nif­i­cant role in shap­ing the foun­da­tion col­lec­tion. High­lights in­clude paint­ings of the In­dian sec­tion of the Great Ex­hi­bi­tion, Lock­wood Ki­pling’s own sketches of In­dian crafts­peo­ple ob­served dur­ing his time liv­ing in In­dia, ob­jects he se­lected in In­dia for the V&A, de­signs and il­lus­tra­tions for books, and fur­ni­ture de­signed for royal res­i­dences Bagshot Park and Os­borne.

Lock­wood Ki­pling, born in York­shire in 1837, be­gan his ca­reer as a de­signer and ar­chi­tec­tural sculp­tor. At a young age he was in­spired by a visit to the 1851 Great Ex­hi­bi­tion at the Crys­tal Palace where he saw In­dian ob­jects that were later pur­chased as part of the found­ing col­lec­tions of the V&A. The ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes some of these best ex­am­ples of In­dian crafts­man­ship dis­played there such as a bracelet of enam­elled gold set with di­a­monds, a pur­ple wo­ven silk prayer car­pet and a sword and hel­met. In the early 1860s, Ki­pling joined the South Kens­ing­ton Mu­seum (as the V&A was then known) pro­duc­ing dec­o­ra­tion for the new V&A build­ings with ter­ra­cotta ar­chi­tec­tural sculp­ture un­der the di­rec­tion of God­frey Sykes. His own like­ness can still be seen in a mo­saic dec­o­ra­tion over­look­ing the Mu­seum’s John Made­jski gar­den, show­ing a pro­ces­sion led by the V&A’s first di­rec­tor Henry Cole. The ex­hi­bi­tion also in­cludes pieces re­lat­ing to the Arts and Crafts move­ment such as a pi­ano dec­o­rated by Pre-Raphaelite artist Ed­ward Burne-Jones played by Lock­wood Ki­pling’s wife, Alice Mac­don­ald, and also a large panel that she em­broi­dered for Red House, the home of Arts and Crafts cam­paigner Wil­liam Mor­ris.

Ki­pling left Lon­don for In­dia in 1865, spend­ing ten years in Bom­bay (now known as Mum­bai) to teach at the Sir Jam­set­jee Jee­jeeb­hoy School of Art, then mov­ing to La­hore, the cap­i­tal of the Pun­jab, as Prin­ci­pal of the new Mayo School of Art (to­day Pak­istan’s Na­tional Col­lege of Arts) and cu­ra­tor of the ad­join­ing mu­seum. Dur­ing this time craft tra­di­tions were in de­cline and Ki­pling trav­elled to ob­serve, col­lect and record these skills. Ki­pling’s por­trait draw­ings of crafts­men and cot­ton work­ers are on show, with ob­jects match­ing their ac­tiv­i­ties pre­sented along­side the draw­ings. This was a pe­riod of rapid ur­ban ex­pan­sion and devel­op­ment in In­dia. Ki­pling and his stu­dents were well placed to con­trib­ute dec­o­ra­tive sculp­ture to Bom­bay’s de­vel­op­ing Gothic Re­vival ar­chi­tec­ture. Many of the build­ings he and his stu­dents worked

on are shown in a film com­mis­sioned for the ex­hi­bi­tion. In La­hore Ki­pling was an early cham­pion of ar­chi­tec­tural con­ser­va­tion and en­cour­aged his stu­dents to doc­u­ment lo­cal build­ings; the ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes their painted stud­ies of mon­u­ments and mosques. He also sent plas­ter casts back to Eng­land and sal­vaged ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures and con­tem­po­rary ob­jects such as de­tailed carved doors, win­dows and screens both for the La­hore mu­seum and for the V&A’s col­lec­tions. Sev­eral of these have been con­served for the ex­hi­bi­tion; a late 18th cen­tury bay win­dow from a mer­chant’s house and a late 19th cen­tury plas­ter cast of a 1st -2nd cen­tury bust of Bud­dha are dis­played for the first time in 60 years. A film of La­hore by stu­dents and staff of the Na­tional Col­lege of Arts has been spe­cially com­mis­sioned for the ex­hi­bi­tion.

In 1893 Lock­wood Ki­pling re­tired from his po­si­tion in La­hore and moved home to Eng­land, where Lock­wood and Rud­yard of­ten col­lab­o­rated. The ex­hi­bi­tion in­cludes a ter­ra­cotta to­bacco jar de­signed and made by Ki­pling in the shape of a bear, in­spired by their shared time in In­dia. Rud­yard wove his father’s vivid rec­ol­lec­tions into his sto­ries, many of which Lock­wood Ki­pling il­lus­trated. A range of these edi­tions are on show, in­clud­ing The

First and The Sec­ond Jun­gle Book and Kim. The ex­hi­bi­tion con­cludes with fur­ni­ture and de­sign re­lat­ing to royal com­mis­sions that Ki­pling worked on with his for­mer stu­dent, the ar­chi­tect Bhai Ram Singh: the In­dian bil­liard room for the Duke of Con­naught at Bagshot Park in Sur­rey and the Dur­bar Hall at Os­borne, Queen Vic­to­ria’s sum­mer home. The rooms are rep­re­sented through film and orig­i­nal de­signs and fur­ni­ture, in­clud­ing a pair of stand­ing lamps and a pair of fire dogs de­signed for Os­borne and a chair de­signed for Bagshot Park, re­cently ac­quired into the V&A’s col­lec­tions.

The Great Ex­hi­bi­tion: In­dia no. 4, by Joseph Nash, about 1851. Royal Col­lec­tion Trust. © Her Majesty Queen El­iz­a­beth II, 2016

John Lock­wood Ki­pling with his son Rud­yard Ki­pling, 1882. © Na­tional Trust/Charles Thomas

Wed­ding chest, about 1888. © CSG CIC Glas­gow Mu­se­ums Col­lec­tion

14 Jan­uary – 2 April 2017

The Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum has col­lab­o­rated with the Bard Grad­u­ate Cen­ter, New York, to present the first ex­hi­bi­tion ex­plor­ing the life and work of Lock­wood

Dur­bar Hall at Os­borne, de­signed by Bhai Ram Singh and Lock­wood Ki­pling in 1890. © Bard Grad­u­ate Cen­ter, New York, photo by Bruce M. White

Rud­yard Ki­pling’s book­plate ‘Ex Lib­ris', Lock­wood Ki­pling, 1909. © Na­tional Trust Images/John Ham­mond

Bracelet shown at the Great Ex­hi­bi­tion, made in Ra­jasthan, In­dia, about 1850. Mu­seum no. 120-1852. © Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum, Lon­don

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