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Painting - Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Mysore (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1790 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Painted in opaque watercolour on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Colonel T. G. Gayer-Anderson, CMG, DSO, and his twin brother Major R. G. Gayer-Anderson, Pasha.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This painting by an anonymous Indian artist was probably done in Mysore. It depicts Tipu Sultan, ruler of Mysore from 1782 to 1799, who was defeated by the British at the Siege of Seringapatam. The V&A houses a mechanical organ that once belonged to him. It is in the shape of a European being mauled by a tiger and is known as 'Tippoo's Tiger'.
In the decades following Tipu Sultan's defeat and death, Delhi artists included the Mysore ruler in the series they often painted of famous Indian rulers. They seem to have used this portrait, which includes jewellery that is distinctively different from northern fashions, as a model. One such Delhi miniature is also in the V&A collection (646-1870).

Physical description

Portrait of Tipu Sultan (1749-99). The ruler of Mysore is wearing a bright green tunic with matching green turban, decorated with a jewelled turban ornament. He has three pearl necklaces each with a jewelled pendant, and a jewelled sash over his right shoulder, which holds a gold sword on his left hip and a large green and yellow striped patka, a sash or belt. Tipu Sultan rests against a red bolster; the background is blue.

Place of Origin

Mysore (made)


ca. 1790 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Painted in opaque watercolour on paper


Height: 27 cm, Width: 21.5 cm

Object history note

From the Gayer-Anderson Collection.

Descriptive line

Painting, Tipu Sultan, opaque watercolour on paper, Mysore, ca. 1790

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Buddle, Anne (1990) Tigers round the Throne: The Court of Tipu Sultan (1750-1799), Zamana Gallery Publications, London, p16-17.

Guy, J., and Swallow, D., (eds). ‘Arts of India: 1550-1900’. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1990. ISBN 1851770224.p. 184, pl.161.

Archer, Mildred. Company Paintings Indian Paintings of the British period
Victoria and Albert Museum Indian Series London: Victoria and Albert Museum, Maplin Publishing, 1992, 71 p. ISBN 0944142303
Stronge, Susan. Tipu's Tigers. V&A Publishing, 2009.

Swallow, Deborah and John Guy eds. Arts of India: 1550-1900. text by Rosemary Crill, John Guy, Veronica Murphy, Susan Stronge and Deborah Swallow. London : V&A Publications, 1990. 240 p., ill. p. 184, pl. 161 ISBN 1851770224
Topsfield, Andrew, cat. no. 96
The Indian Heritage. Court life and Arts under Mughal Rule London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982 Number: ISBN 0 906969 26 3

Labels and date

[Maharaja Exhibition] 148
Tipu Sultan
Mysore, about 1790–1800

Tipu made strenuous efforts to legitimise his regime. This profile portrait, with the ruler’s hand resting on a parapet, recalls the conventions of a Mughal jharokha or ‘balcony’ painting in which the emperor presented himself to his people. The green of his turban and robe was the colour associated with the Prophet Muhammad.

Opaque watercolour on paper
V&A: IS.266-1952
Given by Colonel T.G. Gayer-Anderson, CMG, DSO and his twin brother Major R.G. Gayer-Anderson, Pasha



Opaque watercolour; Paint; Paper



Subjects depicted



Indian Company Paintings; Portraits; Paintings


South & South East Asia Collection

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