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Focused on the entanglement of nostalgia and the exotic, this article explores the dramatic transformation of British perception and consumption of Indian images. In this era of colonial emergence and political emergency, both nostalgia and the exotic would be transferred from the rarity of mercantilism to the artifact of imperialism. While nostalgia retained a sense of homesickness for colonial communities overseas, as a manifestation of historical decline it was also being displaced onto Britain's cultural Others. Although in the early eighteenth century metropolitan elites and middle classes wanted to emulate the cultural trappings of the Mughal court (through luxury exoticism), in the ensuing decades Indian art would be typecast as decadent in keeping with changing ideas of a specifically 'imperial' aesthetic.