Posted on: 6 February 2013

Portrait of Abdul Khalik Sultan; half-length to front, head slightly to right, eyes to front, wearing a turban with small spray of flowers, within an oval - 1794

Inscribed: "Abd ul Khalik Sultaun, Eldest son of Tippo" and "John Smart delin. Madras, 1794"

On the verso (now removed and in the dossier), was a manuscript note (partially illegible) as follows: "Abdul Kulic, Second Son of the Nabob / Tippoo Sultaun, was delivered up as one of the / hostages to the Marquis Cornwallis on the 2[4?] [February?] / [in?] [the?] Camp before Seringapatam, he was then about / 10 Years Age, & is discribed as being rather dark in Colour, [with?] / [thick?] Lips, a small [flattish?] [nose?] & [?] / he was the eldest of the two hostages and not the Sultauns eldest / Son, whose name was F[?] A[?]. // On the [?] of the [?] [?] [?] / [?] [?] [returned?] to their Father, but [War?] between the English / and the Sultaun broke out again in 1799, & on the [?] of August that year / Seringapatam was taken by storm, & Tippoo was slain. All his / [Family?] [were?] at the same time [made?] Prisoners, & sent to the Fort / [of?] [Vellore?] [where?] [they?] remained in confinement until August / [1806?] when they were brought to M[?], & sent from there by / [?] [to?] Fort William, to remain [?] in that [Fort?] [?] during [the?] [remainder?] of their Lives. This was a [consequence?] of some [prisoners?] [having? [been?] concerned in a Mutiny & Massacre of [the?] English Garrison at Vellore, on the 10 [July?] 1806. // [?] [?] [?] Drawing [taken?] [by?] [Smart?] [?] [?] [?] [?] [?] 1792."

Curator's comments:
This highly finished pair of drawings by John Smart, the leading portrait miniaturist and draughtsman, made towards the end of his ten-year-long stay in India, represent the two sons of Tipu Sultan (1750-99), the ruler of Mysore, who was finally defeated by the British at Seringapatam on 4 May 1799. Five years earlier Smart had drawn the two boys in these finished graphite portraits; two years earlier in 1792 they had been taken hostage in the Treaty of Madras by the British led by Charles, 1st marquess Cornwallis, the governor-general and commander-in-chief in India. Thomas Twining in his Travels in India (1893; cited in Foskett) wrote that he was introduced to the two young princes by Colonel Doveton of the Madras army on 8 August 1792 and described the encounter: ‘on our entering their rooms they seemed breakfasted, our names, and many other questions. There is not much difference in their size. The youngest Mirza, is most pleasing, He is fair, with large, handsome eyes. He was very cheerful and polite; talked a great deal to us, and very sensibly, though not eight years of age. When he heard that we should see Lord Cornwallis, he desired, with tears in his eyes, to be remembered to him. “Tell Lord Cornwallis that he always with me”.’ Twining continued his account with a description of the commission of these two portraits: ‘Mr Smart, miniature painter, who told me to my surprise that he had taken my mother’s picture, was taking their likenesses. They are to be sent when finished to Tippoo Sahib; for Lord Cornwallis having asked them if he would like to have his sons’ pictures, “yes”, said he, “provided they be accompanied by Lord Cornwallis’s”.’

© Trustees of the British Museum

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Abdul Khaliq the eldest of Tipoo's sons, before Ghulam Mohammad, Anwar Shah , Moizuddin and others

Wasn't he the second son? Fath Haidar was his eldest, I think.

Do we know anything about Tipu Descendants. I heard some years ago they lived in Penury in Kolkatta

What happened to the two little boys?