Tipu Sultan was a formidable warrior who fought against the British East India Company in the late 18th century. If you search for an image of Tipu Sultan on the internet, you would most likely come across similar images to the one below.
This particular image is sourced from the book titled "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]".
In this post, I am delighted to share with you a collection of portraits created by European artists, which are believed to depict Tipu Sultan. Join me on this journey as we explore the fascinating world of Tipu Sultan through the eyes of European artists.
1. According to 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.
A modern copy from Getty Images
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".
"Tippoo Saib," a steel engraving by William Daniell, 1830's (with modern hand coloring) - columbia.edu.
An identical image can be found 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.' Interestingly, this version of the engraving bears the title "The Emperor Humayun".
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. No doubt, this is a work of pure imagination.
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, believed to have been created in 1780 by the renowned portrait painter John Zoffany, inside the Daria Daulat Bagh at Srirangapatna.
John Zoffany was a celebrated portrait painter of the 18th century, known for his exceptional talent in capturing the essence of his subjects. According to various sources, Zoffany spent six years in India, from 1783 to 1789, where he created some of his most remarkable works.
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, known as Daria Daulat Bagh, were the work of his court painters. So, how did this particular painting come into existence?
However, recent research conducted by Harshavardhana Yadumurthy has revealed that the painting in question actually portrays Salar Jung, the brother in law of Shuja-ud-Daula, the Nawab of Awadh. Furthermore, it has been discovered that the portrait was actually painted by Tilly Kettle, another talented British artist.
5. The image of Tipu Sultan presented below was taken from Mohibbul Hasan's book:
History of Tipu Sultan By Mohibbul Hasan
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 of Tipu Sultan appears to be authentic:
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
Many of the images portraying Tipu Sultan were created from the artists' own imagination. Denys M. Forrest, the author of "The Tiger of Mysore: Life and Death of Tipu Sultan," notes that the surviving portraits of Tipu Sultan share such striking similarities in character that they must either date from the same period or derived from a common source. The events in Tipu's career that most captivated the imagination of history painters were undoubtedly the surrender of his sons as hostages and his own last struggle and death!
The first artwork in our list can be regarded as an accurate depiction 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 in terms of physical appearance.
Prince Fateh Hyder, eldest son of Tipu Sultan. Oil painting by Thomas Hickey - Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata