The Book and Paper Group
The American Institute for Conservation

Gods, Kings, and Tigers: Conservation and Exhibition of Paintings and Drawings from Kotah, India

by Craigen W. Bowen

Presented at the Book & Paper Group Session, AIC 28th Annual Meeting, June 8-13, 2000, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Received for publication Fall 2000.


The author traveled to Kota, Rajasthan, in western India to conserve paintings and drawings from the Rao Madho Singh Trust Museum. This involved setting up a laboratory space in an area where conservation supplies were not available. Some two hundred paintings and drawings were examined and their condition was documented. Conservation treatment to stabilize mechanical damage and flaking of media was carried out on most of the works. The project evolved into an exhibition that traveled to three venues in the United States and Europe and then was shown at the National Museum in New Delhi. In addition to the difficulties of working in the absence of ordinary conservation tools, the adventure of working in a different culture created challenges. After eight trips to India the conservator's role expanded to include photographer and government negotiator. This talk will describe all aspects of the twelve-year project.

Craigen W. Bowen
Straus Center for Conservation

Publication History

Received: Fall 2000

Paper delivered at the Book and Paper specialty group session, AIC 28th Annual Meeting, 8-13, 2000, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Papers for the specialty group session are selected by committee, based on abstracts and there has been no further peer review. Papers are received by the compiler in the Fall following the meeting and the author is welcome to make revisions, minor or major.