A Collection of Portraits of Tipu Sultan

Images similar to the one below are commonly seen on the internet, depicting Tipu Sultan, also known as Tippoo Sahib of the British.

This image is sourced from the book "The history of Hyder Shah, alias Hyder Ali Khan Bahadur, and of his son, Tippoo Sultaun by M.M.D.L.T."

Portrait of Tipu Sultan

As portrait painting became popular, many European painters came to India between 1770 and 1825 in search of profitable commissions.

In this post, I am sharing some portraits created by European artists, which are believed to be of Tipu Sultan:

1. According to the British Library, the following portrait was originally published in the book "The naval and military history of the wars of England, including, the wars of Scotland and Ireland, etc" by Thomas Mante.

Portrait of Tipu Sultan

2. This antique steel engraving of Tipu Sultan is from the book "The Illustrated History of the British Empire in India and the East" by Edward H. Nolan, under the title "Tippoo Saib."

Portrait of Tipu Sultan
"Tippoo Saib," a steel engraving by William Daniell, 1830's (with modern hand coloring) - columbia.edu.

However, another copy of the same image can be found with the title "The Emperor Humayun" in the book "The Oriental Annual; or Scenes in India" by the Rev. Hobart Caunter, B.D., with twenty-two engravings from drawings by William Daniell, R.A.

Portrait of Tipu Sultan
The Emperor Humayun, Drawn By W. Daniell R.A. Engraved By J. Cochran, 1837

3. The image below was published in the Carlton House Magazine in 1792, soon after signing of the treaty of Srirangapatna, which concluded the third Anglo-Mysore War. Just another work of imagination.

Tipu Sultan
The Sultaun Tippoo Saib. Engraved for the Carlton House Magazine, Published by W. & J. Stratford, No.112 Holborn Hill, Sep. 1792 - grosvenorprints.com

4. The next item on our list is a painting of Tipu Sultan in 1780 attributed to John Zoffany, located inside the Daria Daulat Bagh at Srirangapatna.

John Zoffany was a celebrated portrait painter of the 18th century who arrived in India in 1783 and worked there until 1789.

Close-up of Tipu Sultan
Full length Portrait of Tipu Sultan

It is worth noting that Tipu Sultan never commissioned European artists to create his portraits. The beautiful mural paintings adorning the walls of his Summer Palace (Daria Daulat Bagh), were the work of his court painters. So, how did this particular painting come into existence?

Recent research by Harshavardhana Yadumurthy suggests that this painting is actually of Salar Jung, the brother in law of Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh, and was painted by another British artist, Tilly Kettle.

5. The image of Tipu Sultan presented below was taken from Mohibbul Hasan's book "History of Tipu Sultan."

Tipu Sultan in Youth

6. Here is another imaginary depiction of Tipu Sultan:
Tippu Sahib, 19.11.1751 - 4.5.1799, Sultan of Mysore 10.12.1782 - 4.5.1799, portrait, steel engraving, by J. Blaschke, 19th century

7. This drawing bears some resemblance to the authentic one:

Tipu Sahib also known as Tiger of Mysore (1750-1799), ruler of Kingdom of Mysore, 19th century lithography - eBay

8. Another one from Asian Art Museum.

"The sons of Tipu Sultan leaving their father" - Artist: Henry Singleton

Most depictions of Tipu Sultan were products of the artists' imagination. According to Denys M. Forrest, the author of "The Tiger of Mysore: Life and Death of Tipu Sultan," all surviving portraits of Tipu Sultan share such similar characteristics that they are believed to either originate from the same period or a common source.

The events in Tipu's life that captivated history painters the most were undoubtedly the surrender of his sons as hostages and his own last struggle and death!


The painting at the top can be considered an authentic representation of Tipu Sultan. Below, you will find a painting of Prince Fateh Hyder, Tipu Sultan's eldest son, who bears a remarkable resemblance to his father.

Prince Fateh Hyder, eldest son of Tipu Sultan. Oil painting by Thomas Hickey - Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata


  1. Love the collection and he almost looks diferent in each potrait, but, hats off to the artists who crreated such wonderful art :)