Book Launch – 'In Pursuit of Empire: Treasures from the Toor Collection of Sikh Art'
A fabulous launch to accompany a fabulous and important new book which features highlights from the world's leading private collection of Sikh Art. In Pursuit of Empire: Treasures from the Toor Collection of Sikh Art tells 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. The gorgeous coffee table book includes objects currently on loan to the critically acclaimed Empire of the Sikhs exhibition at the Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental & African Studies, London.
Davinder Toor was joined on stage by the leading historian on South Asia of his generation, William Dalrymple who has written the Introduction to the book. William's best sellers include White Mughals, The Last Mughal, Return of a King and Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World's Most Infamous Diamond with Anita Anand.
The packed lecture theatre at SOAS was treated to a fascinating discussion as William expertly teased out the stories behind the objects, and the story of the man behind the dazzling Toor Collection. What was revealed is the story of a British born Sikh who was switched on to his history as a volunteer at the V&A's landmark exhibition Arts of the Sikh Kingdoms in 1999. A spark was lit within Davinder which led to him initially to merely window shopping and dreaming of owning even the smallest item.
Once he begun however, he realised he had a knack for sniffing out the best items and in understanding their importance. Taking tips from dealers and his mentor, our very own director and author Parmjit Singh, he began tracking down objects made during the Sikh Empire period. Within a matter of years he amassed a jaw-dropping collection and now, nearly two decades later, Davinder's dogged determination and eye for great art has produced a treasury unlike any other in private hands.
Through his remarkable achievements who has pursued his passion to create the world's finest private collection of Sikh art you too can now savour the lasting legacy of the Sikh Empire - the stunning In Pursuit of Empire is available now.
Picture Credits: Raj Gedhu