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  4.16 Seringapatam Medal presented to Sir David Baird  


©National War Museum of Scotland
Seringapatam Medal presented to Sir David Baird; 1801

Obverse: The British Lion Triumphing over the Tiger of Mysore
Reverse: The Storming of Seringapatam

Gold
Diameter 4.7 x depth 1.5cm

MATTHEW BOULTON (1728-1809) AND CONRAD HEINRICH KÜCHLER

or the first time in a British campaign, medals were presented to all ranks who had fought at Seringapatam in 1798-99. Prior to the first Burmese War, all the Company's other medals had been awarded to native soldiers only. Cromwell's victory at the Battle of Dunbar (1650) was the only other occasion when a medal was awarded to the whole army (11,000 men). Boulton's commission was for nearly five times this number. Over 50,000 Seringapatam medals were struck: three hundred and fifty gold; one hundred and eighty five silver gilt; eight hundred and fifty silver; five thousand bronzed copper; and forty five thousand of pure grain tin. Sir Charles Wilkins from India House advised Boulton (designer) and Küchler (engraver) on the medal's design - A View of Seringapatam with, verso, the British Lion Triumphing over the Tiger of Mysore. Boulton's dealings with the Company, including an itemised account for the Seringapatam medal (Mint Day Book, 1801-05, p.21) are preserved in the papers of the Birmingham Assay Office.

Boulton had already designed a medal to honour Lord Cornwallis and his successful campaign, the Third Mysore War, against Tipu. Since he did not know enough about the event, Kuchler had asked for reference drawings: 'weil mir aber die gantze Begebeheit nicht genug bekannt ist, so wolte ic Eur. HochEdlen bitten mich in den Standt suselzen, das ich durch einem guten Mëyster in zukumft zeygnungen kan machen lassen, gleich wie andere Graveurs auch thun.' (' But as I do not know enough about the event, I would beg you to put me in a position to have drawings made in future by a good artist, as a guide, as other engravers do'). For the 1799 medal, a view of Seringapatam was supplied, and the business of designing the medal began in earnest. Mr Willis, at India House, complained that the sun and its rays on the reverse should be 'softened down.' Kuchler retorted that it would not then be a sun, but Mr Willis persisted: 'all Medallists laugh at it as it is.' Mr Willis then suggested that Kuchler should 'make the Tyger much stronger in the shoulders.' By 23rd April 1802, the medals were awaiting collection by and on 29th August 1815, official permission to wear the medal was granted by the Prince Regent.


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