It depicts the opening procession of the British assembly in India held to mark the accession of a new emperor or empress – in this case Edward VII. The 1903 event is regarded as the most elaborate of the three Durbars that took place, and Lord Curzon, who organised the extravaganza, dubbed it “the biggest thing ever seen in India”.
The figurines were produced by Marlborough Military Models and the assemblage, made up of 93 sets, was built up by former military man David Cartwright from 1985-2018. Many of the figures were hand-painted by Cartwright and include 14 elephants, 12 maharajas, British and Indian troops, camels and various bazaar sets. The centrepiece is the Duke of Connaught, who stood in for Edward VII at the event.
The exhibition runs until November 29. In light of the new lockdown, the gallery has organised the procession of figures in the window of its Clifton shop, where it will be visible from outside at an appropriate height for small children. The shop is accepting sealed bids on the collection until December 1, and these will be reviewed on the 5th.
Also available at the show are two 1903 silver commemorative badges struck by the Royal Mint which were awarded to all participants in the event, as well as several items of jewellery.