Rarely in the history of collecting art in India has a father-son duo remained involved for as long as the Bharanys of Amritsar and Delhi. This book tells the remarkable tale of the aesthetic adventure of two generations of Bharanys – Radha Krishna and his son Chhotelal, spanning over a century.
It begins with an essay by Pratapaditya Pal placing the role of the Bharanys in the wider context of collecting in this field. This is followed by Chhote Bharany’s personal recollections of learning the trade from his father, and his interactions with many of the leading scholars, experts, famous writers, museum directors and connoisseurs of the 20th century. Giles Tillotson explores Chhote Bharany’s aesthetic, emotional and spiritual response to art in the intellectual context of his time. In Part Two, experts on textiles and other arts each highlight one aspect of the collections, together covering items from as far afield as Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir, Bengal, Punjab, Kerala and Rajasthan.
Showcasing the Bharanys’ personal collection and other objects donated to or purchased by museums, this book will be an eye-opener to those intrigued by how works of art are brought to light, how great collections are put together, and how such works are appreciated and understood.
Giles Tillotson was formerly Reader in History of Art at SOAS (University of London). He is currently Consultant Director (Research, Publications & Exhibitions) at the City Palace in Jaipur. He edited two earlier Marg volumes, Stones in the Sand: The Architecture of Rajasthan (2001) and James Tod’s Rajasthan (2007).