Purvai: Collector Extraordinaire, Mackenzie Collection exhibition

Sat 12 Aug- Sat 18 Nov

(C) V&A Museum

Collector Extraordinaire – The Mackenzie Collection Exhibition.

This year’s Purvai festival marks a historic event in Stornoway, the first ever exhibition of Colin Mackenzie’s India Collections in the town of his birth.

Colin Mackenzie one of Scotland’s most famous 19th-century explorers was born in Stornoway in 1753, he went on to lead a life of travel, discovery, and exploration in India. As a soldier, engineer, cartographer, polymath, and collector. His career trajectory was from the customs office at Stornoway Harbour to be the first person ever to hold the position of Surveyor General of All India.

Through private personal research, he amassed a large collection of Asian antiquities – famously known today as ‘The Mackenzie Collection’, housed in museums and libraries in both India and the UK.

Mackenzie’s documentation is one of the most extensive historical researches ever carried out on Ancient India art and culture. It was his wish to present these collections properly so that they could be shared widely.

The Collection comprises a remarkable range of material, including beautiful figures intricately carved in stone, thousands of drawings and sketches from across India and Java depicting ancient monuments, people and customs, maps, coins, and incredibly old and precious palm leaf manuscripts.

Unfortunately, Colin Mackenzie died before he was able to sort, analyse and present his collection.‘Collector Extraordinaire’ is the first ever curated exhibition of this 200-year-old Collection.

Items from the Collection will be on loan from the British Museum, The British Library and the V&A, and exhibited at Museum nan Eilean at Lews

From 12 August 2017 and running throughout the autumn until 18 November.