V&A celebrates life and work of the other Kipling

Lockwood Kipling with his son Rudyard Kipling (1882). (© National Trust, Charles Thomas)

Lockwood Kipling with his son Rudyard Kipling (1882). (© National Trust, Charles Thomas)

Hear the name Kipling and you are more likely to think of The Jungle Book than of Indian Arts and Crafts. Yet the lesser-known Lockwood Kipling (1837-1911), father of the English writer and poet Rudyard, was an influential figure in the Arts and Crafts movement in England and a champion of traditional Indian craftsmanship.

Having begun his career as a designer, Lockwood Kipling spent almost 30 years teaching and working in the arts in India. In the early 1860s, he joined the South Kensington Museum (as the Victoria and Albert Museum was then known) and “played a significant role in shaping the foundation collection”, according to the museum.

A V&A exhibition opening this month will trace his career, beginning with examples of the Indian objects he encountered at the 1851 Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, including an enamelled gold bracelet set with diamonds from the museum’s collection. Also on display will be objects that Kipling sent home for the V&A’s collections, many conserved for the exhibition. They include a Buddha bust (around 1st- or 2nd-century) that is being shown for the first time in 60 years. The exhibition was organised with the Bard Graduate Center, New York, and will travel there from 15 September to 4 February 2018.

• Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 14 January-2 April

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