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he Tiger and the Thistle bi-centennial exhibition was held at the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, from 29th July to 3rd October 1999.

Three rooms on the Main Floor of the Gallery, normally hung with 17 century to early 19 century masterpieces from the National collection, were made available to receive the textiles, manuscripts, firearms, swords, ceramics, prints, drawings and paintings generously lent to the exhibition. In the first two rooms, the roughly chronological display was sub-divided into distinct themes, including 'Tigers round the Throne;' 'The Scots in India;' 'Tipu and the French;' ' 19c Myth and Melodrama.' The last room, full of portraits, united the key players in the drama: Purnaya; Mohammad Ali; the Mahratta Peshwa; Baird; MacLeod; Lindsay and Home. The two great centrepieces of the exhibition faced each other across this gallery: a remarkable Indian painting, 23 ft long, depicting the Battle of Pollilur and Tipu's victory over the British in 1780, and Sir David Wilkie's towering portrait of Sir David Baird discovering Tipu's body after the fall of Seringapatam in 1799.

The National Galleries of Scotland was delighted to host a number of evening receptions and visits for members of Indian communities in the UK: from the Glasgow Mel Milab; the Black Health Family project, Gosforth; the Newcastle Community Resource Centre, and the Oldham Indian Association. This programme, generously sponsored by Arts and Business, Scotland, encouraged a further 2,000 Asian visitors to come to Edinburgh and enjoy tours of the exhibition and of the National Gallery's superb collections.


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