In Pursuit of Empire: Treasures from the Toor Collection of Sikh Art

In Pursuit of Empire: Treasures from the Toor Collection of Sikh Art


Davinder Toor (with an Introduction by William Dalrymple)


The remarkable story of the Sikh Empire told through a spectacular selection of over 100 rare and beautiful objects from the world's finest collection of Sikh art

Hardback, 332 pages, 280 x 280 mm
Over 150 colour illustrations
Special Limited Edition with free print set is now available

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About the Book

Two centuries ago, the Sikh ruling elite of the kingdom of Punjab lavishly patronised skilled artisans to enhance the splendour of their empire. A sumptuous array of objects fit for kings, queens, warriors and the saintly were produced to reflect the vibrant and potent power of the Sikhs.

Two wars with the East India Company resulted in the dramatic collapse of the Sikh Empire in 1849. Artistic production switched to serve the tastes of the new colonial rulers, thereby bringing to an end a unique cultural endeavour. Since then, Sikh artefacts have been dispersed across the globe as loot, official gifts and prized auction purchases.

Through the remarkable achievements of one collector - who pursued his passion to create the world's finest private collection of Sikh art - In Pursuit of Empire reveals the lasting legacy of the Sikh Empire.

About the Author

DAVINDER TOOR is a leading figure among a new generation of Sikh art collectors. His passion for collecting began at the age of seventeen and led him to sign up as a volunteer for the Victoria & Albert Museum’s ground-breaking exhibition ‘The Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms’ in 1999. The experience inspired the creation of the Toor Collection and within just a decade he was lending objects to the Victoria & Albert Museum’s spectacular global exhibition ‘Maharaja: The Splendour of India’s Royal Courts’.

He has acted as a consultant to major private collectors, auction houses and institutions such as the British Museum, Victoria & Albert Museum and Wallace Collection. He currently lectures on the arts of the royal Sikh courts for the Victoria & Albert Museum’s prestigious ‘Arts of Asia’ course.

Objects from the Toor Collection have been exhibited at major global institutions including at the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung (Munich), Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Brunei Gallery (London). Both collection and collector were also featured on the BBC’s ‘Lost Treasures of the Sikh Kingdom’ documentary (2014).

Davinder is a familiar figure in and around the galleries and auction rooms of London and New York. When not pursuing Sikh art, or his other passion of collecting fine Indian and Islamic arms and armour, he runs his own pharmaceutical services business.

For author events, talks and interviews see our What's On page.

Photography: Davinder Toor and Juga Singh
Publication Date: 11 July 2018
ISBN: 9781911271031