Full House for Wajid-Ali-Shah

Yesterday evening Dr Rosie Llewelyn-Jones, speaking to a packed lecture room, delivered her lecture on the last King of India – Wajid Ali Shah.

The audience enjoying Dr Llewellyn-Jones’ lecture

Dr Llewelyn-Jones has undertaken detailed research concerning Wajid Ali Shah and therefore provided an entertaining and informative lecture concerning his early life, his reign in Lucknow and his life at Garden Reach in Calcutta. She included tales of an escaped tigress from his zoo, his trademark ringlets and exposed left breast in portraits; and his 375 wives. Apparently, according to some of his descendents, Wajid Ali Shah was such a pious man that he felt unable to be in a room with a woman unless she was his wife – hence the need for so many. After he was deposed by the British he lived on a pension of £120,000 but was still constantly in debt – not surprising with a household of several thousand and a reputation for lavish entertainment to maintain!

Dr Llewelyn-Jones answering questions after her lecture

If you want to discover more, Dr Llewelyn Jones’ book on Wajid Ali Shah is now available. Many people took the opportunity of being able to purchase a copy after the lecture courtesy of Hurst Publishers who were in attendance at the event.

The next lecture in our Main Lecture Series will be on the occasion of the RAS Anniversary General Meeting on Thursday 14th May when Dr Eugene Rogan from the University of Oxford will speak on The Dardanelles Campaign viewed from both sides of the trenches. 

However before that date we have the next in our Student Lecture Series. On Tuesday 21st April we are delighted that two lecturers, Karin Warch and Tara Desjardins will be coming to the RAS to talk upon their specialisms.

Karin Warch is a PhD candidate at SOAS in the Department of the History of Art and Archaeology and has been an undergraduate tutor within the Department for three years.  She’s also a visiting lecturer on Korean painting for Sotheby’s Institute of Art and the Victoria & Albert Museum. She will be lecturing on Humour and Eighteenth-Century Korean Art.
Since the mid twentieth century, Korean art scholarship has grown and developed to distinguish itself from that of China and Japan. The lecture will focus on the question of humour and its association with Korean art, including the key historical, social and political contexts, and how humour in Korean art has been perceived and received on the global stage. 


홍도 (단원) Kim Hong-do (Danwǒn) (1745 – ca.1806)
Threshing from Album of Genre Paintings by Danwǒn, late 18th century, ink and light color on paper

National Museum of Korea, Treasure No. 527

Tara Desjardins, formerly a specialist in Islamic Art in the Paris art market, is currently also a PhD candidate at SOAS where she is researching Indian glass vessels from the Mughal period. She will be lecturing on Eighteenth-Century Indian-Mughal Glass.

Prince Alamshah Rustam with Mirh Afruz in a garden pavillion, from the Hamzanama
Mughal dynasty, circa 1562-1577
Gouache on cotton
Dim.: 67.5 x 51 cm (painting)
Victoria & Albert Museum (IS.1506-1883)

Tara’s lecture will look at the earliest known visual representations of glass vessels in Indian painting, starting from 1570, and consider what this reveals about the glass-blowing industry in the subcontinent during the late 16th and early 17th century.  She will also consider questions concerning the origins of  vessels, their context and their functions within Indian society.  
We hope you will be able to join us for this exciting lectures on Tuesday 21st April at 6.30 pm