India in Art in Ireland  book cover
1st Edition

India in Art in Ireland

ISBN 9781138352711
Published August 14, 2018 by Routledge
188 Pages

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Book Description

India in Art in Ireland is the first book to address how the relationship between these two ends of the British Empire played out in the visual arts. It demonstrates that Irish ambivalence about British imperialism in India complicates the assumption that colonialism precluded identifying with an exotic other. Examining a wide range of media, including manuscript illuminations, paintings, prints, architecture, stained glass, and photography, its authors demonstrate the complex nature of empire in India, compare these empires to British imperialism in Ireland, and explore the contemporary relationship between what are now two independent countries through a consideration of works of art in Irish collections, supplemented by a consideration of Irish architecture and of contemporary Irish visual culture. The collection features essays on Rajput and Mughal miniatures, on a portrait of an Indian woman by the Irish painter Thomas Hickey, on the gate lodge to the Dromana estate in County Waterford, and a consideration of the intellectual context of Harry Clarke's Eve of St. Agnes window. This book should appeal not only to those seeking to learn more about some of Ireland's most cherished works of art, but to all those curious about the complex interplay between empire, anti-colonialism, and the visual arts.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Notes on Contributors


Barry Finnbarr Flood



Kathleen James-Chakraborty

Chapter 1: From Personal Collections to Cultural Portal: India, Ireland, and the Chester Beatty Library

Darielle Mason

Chapter 2: Loss and the Families of Empire: Thoughts on an Irish artist’s Portrait of a bibi

Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby

Chapter 3: The Dromana Gate: An Indian Fantasy in Ireland

Kathleen James-Chakraborty

Chapter 4: Style/Theosophies: Character and Descent in the Celtic Revival

Arindam Dutta


Kathleen James-Chakraborty


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Kathleen James-Chakraborty is Professor of Art History, University College Dublin, Ireland.


"Danielle Mason's chapter in Kathleen James-chakraborty's edited volume, India in Art in Ireland, is a fascinating exposition of Chester Beaty's renowned collection of Islamic manuscripts."

- Cleo Cantone


'Edited by Kathleen James-Chakraborty, this pioneering study asks "What can we learn from the presence of India in art, architecture and visual culture in Ireland, about empire and its aftermath, and about the importance of the visual to cross-cultural exchange?" The contributors ... not only provide thought-provoking responses to this multifaceted question but they also break new ground for further research into the cross-cultural meeting of Ireland and India in the visual arts.'

- Irish Arts Review

'What a fascinating book this is! India in Art in Ireland assembles a group of suggestive and incisive studies, richly illuminating this complex subject.'

- Mark Crinson, University of Manchester, UK

'India in Art in Ireland probes the complex intersections of Irish and Indian art, culture, politics, and history, providing readers with a sense of this rich engagement across time and geography. From the Chester Beatty Library collection of Indian paintings to the "Hindu-Gothick" Dromana Gate, and from Thomas Hickey’s Portrait of a Bibi to Harry Clarke’s stained glass The Eve of St. Agnes, the essays in this volume investigate often overlooked moments of contact to draw forth the fascinating, fraught, and incredibly productive aesthetic conversation between India and Ireland. The book promises to refocus our attention on these moments of intersection and engagement, enabling new assessments of the Irish-Indian encounter over the last three centuries and more.'

- Rebecca M. Brown, Johns Hopkins University, USA

'India in Art in Ireland is a pioneering book that highlights India’s influences in Ireland as seen through art, architecture and visual culture. The essays in this book explore a range of objects and images, such as, a portrait, a ceremonial gateway, a stained glass window, and a recent photograph, as well as collecting practices. In doing so, the authors reveal the connected histories of two important colonies of the British Empire: Ireland, and India. In the process, the authors’ unravel a complex intertwined history of collecting, intimate life, personal encounters, intellectual thought, and nationalist aspirations that are vital to an understanding of empire and its aftermath.'

- Preeti Chopra, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA and author of A Joint Enterprise: Indian Elites and the Making of British Bombay

'Here is a groundbreaking volume filled with thought-provoking essays by eminent art and architectural historians about a little explored subject: India in the visual cultures of Ireland within the broader context of the British empire. A must read for scholars interested in the art, architecture, and literature of Ireland, Britain, and South Asia.'

- Romita Ray, Syracuse University, USA