Laura Gascoigne

Embarrassment of riches: South Asian Miniature Painting, at MK Gallery, reviewed

Many of the most exquisite contributions to this ambitious show can only be brought out of store once every ten years

‘A Rajput Sirdar’, c. 1914-15, by Samuel Fyzee-Rahamin. Tate: Presented by the State of Bhavnagar 1925

In 1633, British merchants travelling east were issued with a royal command from Charles I: ‘As the king has considered that there is a great deal of learning fit to be known written in Arabic, and great scarcity of Arabic and Persian books in this country… every ship… at every voyage shall bring home an Arabic or Persian manuscript book, to be delivered to… the Archbishop of Canterbury, who shall dispose of them as the King shall think fit.

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