The Queen to open gallery of Indian art at Victoria and Albert Museum


The Queen will open the Nehru Gallery of Indian Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum on Thursday, 22 November. The new gallery is being named after the Indian statesman Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, to celebrate the centenary of his birth. His grandson, Rajiv Gandhi, and the British and Indian Prime Ministers are leading an appeal to raise money for the gallery and its associated educational programme. The V&A's collection of Indian art — over 35,000 objects dating from 200 BC to the present — came from the old Indian Museum.

The new Nehru Gallery will display a selection of the finest pieces from the collection, to present and explain the courtly artistic tradition of India from 1550 to 1900.

The appeal, which was launched in June 1989, aims to raise £2.2 million ($4,2 million). So far, just over £1.6 million ($3 million) has been received or pledged.

A number of businesses with Indian trade connections have contributed to the appeal, notably those in the diamond industry under the leadership of the Oppenheimer Charitable Trust. However, an apparent lack of similar leadership and some disunity could well explain a certain reticence on the part of the local Indian community. To date, less than a quarter of a million pounds has come from Indians living in Britain.

The Indian government has agreed to the establishment of a charitable trust, to receive donations made in India. So far a total of £200,000 has been given.

• Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper under the headline "Britain’s immigrant community not yet in the giving mood"