A Collection of Portraits of Tipu Sultan

Similar images to the below one is what we see on the internet popularly depicted as Tipu Sultan, [Tippoo Sahib of the British].

It is taken 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, General in the Army of the Mogul Empire, Revised and Corrected by His Highness Prince Gholam Mohammed [Son of Tipu Sultan]".

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'm sharing some portraits made by European artists said to be of Tipu Sultan:

1. According to British Library, this 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
Portrait of Tipu Sultan
A modern copy of the above from Getty Images

William Daniell and his uncle Thomas Daniell were the most outstanding landscape painters. William accompanied his uncle Thomas Daniell to India in 1786 and remained there till 1794. 

2. This antique steel engraving of Tipu Sultan was originally published in the book "The Illustrated History of the British Empire in India and the East" by Edward H. Nolan, with the title 'Tippoo Saib".

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

Portrait of Tipu Sultan
Portrait of Tippoo Saib [i.e. Tippu Sultan], ca. 1840 by John Cochran - royalacademy.org.uk

However, we can find another copy of the same image with the title of '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.'

3. Below print was published in the 'Carlton House Magazine' in 1792, soon after signing of the treaty of Srirangapatna, which concluded the third Anglo-Mysore War. No doubt, this is a work of pure 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. Here is the painting of Tipu Sultan in 1780 attributed to John Zoffany, inside the Daria Daulat Bagh at Srirangapatna.

John Zoffany was one of the most famous portrait painters of the 18th century. According to various sources, John Zoffany came to India in 1783 only. He worked in India from 1783 to 1789.

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

It should be noted that Tipu Sultan never employed European artists to draw his pictures. The mural paintings in the walls of his Summer Palace (Daria Daulat Bagh) were done by his court painters only. Then how come this painting into existence?

According to a recent research by Harshavardhana Yadumurthy, this painting is of Salar Jung, brother in law of Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh, portrayed by another British painter Tilly Kettle.

5. Below image of Tipu was taken from Mohibbul Hasan's book:

Tipu Sultan in Youth
History of Tipu Sultan By Mohibbul Hasan

6. Here is another imaginary drawing:
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 is somewhat similar to the authentic one:

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

8. Just another imaginary one. 

"Tippoo Sultaun delivering to Gullumalli the Vakeel his two sons" - A Lithograph by Joseph Grozer after Henry Singleton, published 10 August 1793 - National Army Museum

A closer version of the same painting in color from Asian Art Museum.

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

Most of the images depicted as Tipu Sultan had come from the artists' own imagination. According to Denys M. Forrest, author of the "Tiger of Mysore: Life and Death of Tipu Sultan", "all the surviving portraits of Tipu Sultan are so similar in character that they must either date from the same period or derived from a common source. The incidents in Tipu's career which most strongly engaged the fancy of the history painters were of course the surrender of his sons as hostages and his own last struggle and death!"


The topmost one can be considered as an authentic representation of Tipu Sultan. Also take a look at this close-up painting of Prince Fateh Hyder, the eldest son of Tipu Sultan. Fateh Hyder was very like his father in appearance.

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 :)