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Detail from a map of India and the Middle East, showing the route of the Prince of Wales' tour

Albert Edward's tour aimed to strengthen ties between the two countries

Farewell to India

A watercolour depicting a view of HMS Serapis entering the Solent  on 11 May 1876 on its return from the Prince of Wales's Indian tour. Signed and dated: WE Atkins 76.<br /><br />In October 1875, Albert Edward, the eldest son of Queen Victoria,

The Prince of Wales entering the Solent on his return from India, on board HMS Serapis, 11 May 1876 ©

From Indore, the Prince of Wales travelled back to Bombay, where the HMS Serapis waited to sail back to England. The Prince departed India on 13 March, after travelling the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent and meeting more than 90 Indian rulers. During the journey back to England, the Prince stopped at Egypt, Malta and Spain before he returned to England on 11 May 1875 (RCIN 921131).

The Prince brought back with him a menagerie of 151 animals including elephants, tigers and cheetahs that were presented to the Zoological Society of London (London Zoo). A considerable amount of interest in the animals from India led to an increase of visitors from 699,918 in 1875 to 915,764 in 1876. The ship also returned laden with the many gifts that the Prince had received during his tour. On the journey home, the Prince decided to exhibit his gifts from the Indian subcontinent and telegrammed George Birdwood, curator of the Indian Museum at South Kensington (Victoria and Albert Museum), to take charge of them once the ship docked at Portsmouth. The exhibition of the Prince's gifts from India travelled to ten locations: South Kensington, Bethnal Green, Paris, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, York, Nottingham, Copenhagen and Penzance. In England and Scotland alone, more than 2.5 million visitors went to see them.

Jellicoe Jeweller, Calcutta

HMS Serapis, 1875-1876

Ibrahim (active 1877)

Dagger and scabbard

Ram Singh (active c.1870-5)

Salver

Vizagapatam or Peddapuram

Camel

Vizagapatam or Peddapuram

Infantry soldier

Vizagapatam or Peddapuram

Mounted African Soldier

Vizagapatam or Peddapuram

Mahratta spearman

Vizagapatam or Peddapuram

Honorable East India Company Sepoy

Vizagapatam or Peddapuram

Horse

Vizagapatam or Peddapuram

Mounted Indian archer

Walery, 164 Regent St, London

The Indian Room, Marlborough House