The Robert Clive Collections and Gifts Re-Examined

19 May 2020

Regular hours

Tue, 19 May
14:00 – 16:30

Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

Swansea, United Kingdom


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The ways in which historic house collections have been acquired can be troubling and controversial to a 21st century audience. In some cases, these treasures gathered from around the world are the product of conflict, exploitation and plunder.


Location: Online via Zoom

Cost: Free entry

This seminar peeks behind the scenes at one of them: Powis Castle in Wales holds one of the most important collections of South Asian art and artefacts in Europe. The collection was gathered by two generations of the Clive family and contains over 700 objects from 1744-1803. Presentations will explore the origins of the collection, tracing the relationship between colonialism and acquisition. It will include the gift-centred diplomacy of Robert Clive, the collecting habits of Henrietta Clive, and the self-promotion of Edward Clive through the display of Indian arms and armour.

Panel Discussion with the organisers, Katy Freer & Zehra Jumabhoy

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” (Marcel Proust). 

The seminar series Imperial Subjects: (Post)colonial conversations between South Asia and Wales is led by British Art Network bursary awardee Glynn Vivian Art Gallery and South Asian art historian Dr Zehra Jumabhoy. This series of seminars has been adapted for delivery online.

South Asia and Wales have had a long liaison, stretching back to the earliest years of Britain's socio-political infiltration of the Subcontinent. And, given Wales' own status within the larger British narrative, the encounters have often been more collaborative (and the two have shared more in common) than the history of Colonialism would lead one to assume. This series of four paired seminars traces some of the historic interactions between South Asia and Wales, while simultaneously forging new ones.

The seminars are paired as Week One and Two and will be delivered on Tuesday and Thursday each week. Delegates may register for one or both weeks. 

The two seminars in Week Two have been organised with the help of Welsh literary historian Professor Daniel G. Williams and India-expert Anne Buddle from Edinburgh’s National Scottish Galleries.

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