Special event
‘Hindoo' Stuart and the making of the British Museum's South Asia collections

Saturday 15 June 2019,
Room 33
Tickets £12
Members/Concessions £10

Phone +44 (0)20 7323 8181
Ticket Desk in Great Court

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Regarded as an eccentric by many of his contemporaries, Major General Charles Stuart (c. 1758-1828) was a central figure in the history of the western appreciation of Indian art.

Born in Limerick, Ireland, before travelling to India in his teens to serve as an officer in the East India Company Army, Stuart gained notoriety for being one of the few British officers to embrace Hindu culture while stationed there, earning the nickname Hindoo Stuart. Stuart, who travelled around the country with his Indian bibi beside him, his buggy followed by a cavalcade of children’s carriages “and a palkee load of little babes” went as far as employing a group of Brahmins whose ritual purity he regarded as essential for properly dressing his Hindu family’s food. According to one of his fellow officers "he regularly performs his pooja  and avoids the sight of Beef.”

His collection, which towards the end of his life he put on display to visitors in his house in Calcutta, now forms the cornerstone of the British Museum's collection of Hindu and Buddhist statuary.

Join acclaimed author William Dalrymple as he talks about the life of "Hindoo Stuart" and British Museum Curator Sushma Jansari, as she discusses the collection Stuart built up, as they explore together the extraordinary life, times and collection of this forgotten figure in the stunning surroundings of the Museum’s South Asia gallery.

The discussion will be prefaced by a special music performance in the gallery and an opportunity to enjoy the collection after hours.

Part of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2019.

Please note that registration for the event will be at the Museum's North Entrance from 18.00.

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Photo by Benedict Johnson