Newsletter April-May 2023

Major new project announced: Jayalakshmi Vilas, Mysuru, Karnataka

External view of the Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion, Mysuru, Karnataka; photo by Surendra Kumar

The DHF is pleased to announce the launch of a project with the University of Mysore to conserve the historic Jayalakshmi Vilas, a Neoclassical mansion constructed in 1901-07 for Princess Jayalakshmi Ammani, daughter of Chamaraja Wadiyar X (r. 1868-94) and sister of Krishnaraja Wadiyar IV (r. 1902-40). With generous support from the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, administered through The US Consulate General in Chennai, this important undertaking will address structural concerns in the west wing of the building.

Wooden sculptures in the collection of the Folklore Museum at Jayalakshmi Vilas Mansion, Mysuru, Karnataka; photo by Surendra Kumar

In addition, the DHF and its university partner will also create a collections management plan for the approximately 14,000 objects housed at Jayalakshmi Vilas. Since 2001, the mansion has served as home to the Folklore Museum and its diverse collection of puppets, sculpture, manuscripts, documents and memorabilia from Karnataka. Watch this video for more information about Jayalakshmi Vilas and track our progress in future newsletters. Also consider supporting this initiative: additional funds are need to stablise the rest of the mansion and put it to adaptive reuse.

Other activities

Gopura of the Pattabhirama Temple, Hampi, Karnataka, from a negative by Alexander Greenlaw

In March 28, the DHF and The Museum of Art & Photography (MAP), Bengaluru presented a lecture by Dr. George Michell on British colonel Alexander Greenlaw. A pioneer photographer, Greenlaw documented the city of Hampi, Vijayanagara less than 20 years after the invention of photography, and his over 60 monumental paper negatives constitute the earliest, most comprehensive documentation of the imperial city. Watch the lecture here, and learn more about the DHF’s ongoing documentation of at Hampi here.

The Sassoons, an exhibition on view at the Jewish Museum in New York until August 13, reveals the story of a remarkable Jewish family, following four generations from Iraq to India, China, and England through a rich selection of their art collections. The Sassoons’ extensive history in the Deccan is discussed in the DHF guidebook on the Deccan’s Jewish heritage, available for purchase online and at the museum’s bookshop.

Since 2015, the DHF has been working to revitalize the campus of the Telangana Women’s University in Hyderabad, which started life in 1803 as the British Residency. Its Rang Mahal garden reopened in January 2023; video of the inauguration ceremonies is available now.