Columns Take Up Lion's Share of Hindu Art Show
Keys, David, The Independent (London, England)
TWO BEAUTIFULLY carved granite columns from a medieval Hindu temple in southern India have been discovered in the garden of a Staffordshire stately home.
Partly covered in lichen, the columns - their bases each sculpted in the form of a lion - are thought to have stood in the garden of the Earl of Lichfield's country residence, Shugborough Hall, for 250 years.
The columns were identified by Richard Blurton, an Indian art expert at the British Museum, and feature in an exhibition on Hindu art that opened at the museum yesterday.
Research into how the lion columns came to Shugborough suggests that they had been removed from a 9th-, 10th- or 12th-century temple in south-east India in the mid-18th century, and shipped to England through the British-controlled port of Fort St David (now Cuddalore), which is 90 miles south of Madras.
The columns, weighing a ton each, were then, in the 1750s or 1760s, probably acquired by Shugborough's owner, an antiquities collector, Thomas Anson.
They possibly came via his more famous younger brother Admiral Anson, who was First Lord of the Admiralty while Thomas was developing his collection.
Thomas Anson developed a huge collection of classical and Chinese antiquities and decorated his garden and park with Greek, Roman and Chinese-style buildings and fake ruins.
By 1765, maps and documents on Shugborough, now in the Staffordshire record office, suggest that the columns may have …
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Publication information: Article title: Columns Take Up Lion's Share of Hindu Art Show. Contributors: Keys, David - Author. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: November 6, 1993. Page number: Not available. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.