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  3.23 The Palanquin Presented by the Marquis Cornwallis to Prince Abdul Calic  

© Collection Robin Wigington
The Palanquin Presented by the Marquis Cornwallis to Prince Abdul Calic; 1796

12 x 18.8 cm


he formalities which accompanied the surrender of two of Tipu's sons as hostages to Lord Cornwallis, at the end of the 3rd Mysore War also included an elaborate exchange of gifts. Cornwallis gave each son a gold watch, and the following day, the Princes presented Cornwallis with a fine Persian sword and the obligatory jewels and shawls. Cornwallis then presented a gun and a pair of pistols to the children. Two fine palanquins, never unpacked, were found in the Palace in 1799.

In February 1794, after the fulfilment of the Treaty, Tipu's sons prepared to return to Seringapatam. Abdul Khalik appears to have been the favourite of both Lord Cornwallis and Lady Oakley, wife of the Governor of Madras. Lord Cornwallis presented the him with a number of costly gifts including 'the most beautiful palanquin which the mechanics of India could produce.' An Officer of the Company, in his Memoirs, describes the palanquin as 'richly ornamented with solid silver and gold mouldings; the panels on each side were decorated with emblematical devices, characteristic of the prejudices of the Mysoreans, supported by two snakes, whose colour in the sun was such a fine piece of Art, as to be a close representation of Nature.'

A far less resplendent palanquin, actually in use, is depicted in the Battle of Pollilur mural, which survives on the walls of Tipu's Darya Daulat palace at Seringapatam. Not far away from this palace stands the tomb of Col Baillie, the occupant of the palanquin, and the commanding officer of the British contingent which was so resoundingly defeated at Pollilur in 1780.

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