January 05, 2018

A Collection of Portraits of Tipu Sultan

Tipu Sultan

Similar images to the above is what we see on the internet depicted as Tipu Sultan. But was he really looked like this? In this post I am sharing few portraits of Tipu Sultan made by European artists. As the portrait painting became popular, many European painters came to India between 1770 and 1825 in search of profitable commissions. The above image of Tipu Sultan 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.". 

According to http://tipu-sultaun.blogspot.in, the real image of Tipu is the one from the British Library: See below: This portrait was 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. 

Tipu Sultan
Tipu Sultan
A modified copy of the above from Getty Images

This antique steel engraving of Tipu Sultan was also Published C1880, London in the book "The Illustrated History of the British Empire in India and the East" by Edward H. Nolan

Tipu Sultan
"Tippoo Saib," a steel engraving by William Daniell, 1830's (with modern hand coloring) - (columbia.edu)
Tipu Sultan
Portrait of Tippoo Saib [i.e. Tippu Sultan], ca. 1840 by John Cochran - royalacademy.org.uk
The 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.

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
Here is the painting of Tipu Sultan as prince by John Zoffany in 1780, inside the Daria Daulat Bagh in 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. It should be noted that Tipu 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.

Tipu Sultan
Close-up of head and shoulders from full length portrait of Tipu Sahib(later Tipu Sultan) . 1780. Oil painting by John Zoffany (1733-1810). Tipu Sultan Museum. Copyright Otto Money/Photo by Benoy Behl courtesy of Archaeological Survey of India
Tipu Sultan
Full length Portrait of Tipu Sahib, later Tipu Sultan. 1780. Oil painting by John Zoffany (1733-1810). Tipu Sultan Museum. Copyright Otto Money/Photo by Benoy Behl courtesy of Archaeological Survey of India
"Tipu was of brown complexion; he wore no beard, but unlike his father, retained his eyebrows, eyelashes and mustache". (History of Tipu Sultan by Mohibbul Hasan)

"On his journeys and expeditions, he wore a coat of cloth of gold, or of the red tiger stripe embroidered with gold. He was also accustomed to tie a white handkerchief over his turban and under his chin. Towards the end of his reign he wore a green turban Shumlehdar, (twisted apparently) after the fashion of the Arabs, having one embroidered end pendant on the side of his head. He was so modest that no one ever saw any part of his person except his ankle and wrist, and even in the bath he always covered himself from head to foot." (Nishan-i-Haidari by Mir Hussain Ali Khan Kirmani)

So the conclusion is that most of the images depicted as Tipu Sultan had come from the artists's own imaginations. 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!"

1 comment:

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