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  1.4 Tipu's Throne  

©The British Library, London (OIOC)
Front View of the Throne of the Late Tippo Sultaun in the Laul Mahaul (Palace) of Seringapatam, 1799

Pen and ink, and watercolour
32.2 x 20.5 cm


he inscription describes the structure of the throne of heavy black wood covered with a coat of pure gold 'about as thick as a guinea' with indented tiger stripes. It was about eight foot long and five foot wide with small tiger heads at each of the eight corners. Three of these are known to have survived, but two have subsequently disappeared. The canopy was hung with a fringe of pearls surmounted by a bird of paradise 'entirely composed of diamonds, rubies and emeralds'. Behind the throne a door led to Tipu's bedchamber. Throughout the Palace the green walls were painted with red tiger stripes, similar to those which survive on the walls of the mausoleum which Tipu built for his father at Gumbaz.

Marriott concludes 'NB the Throne being now broken in pieces by the prize agents the above Mentioned Bird has been sent as a Present to Her Majesty by the Rt Hon the Earl of Mornington Governor General August 6 1799'. The central tiger head or footstool, with crystal teeth 10cm long, was also preserved. The inscription on an etching by an unknown artist after Edward Blore of 'The State Carpet and Footstool of Tippoo Sultan's Throne' published on 1st June 1809, records that the objects were drawn 'from the originals in the Museum of the Hon. The East India Company.' The tiger head was subsequently presented to George III.

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