130
130
Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A.
THE FORTRESS OF SERINGAPATAM, FROM THE CULLALY DEEDY GATE  
Estimate
50,00070,000
LOT SOLD. 62,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
130
Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A.
THE FORTRESS OF SERINGAPATAM, FROM THE CULLALY DEEDY GATE  
Estimate
50,00070,000
LOT SOLD. 62,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Drawings

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New York

Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A.
LONDON 1775 - 1851
THE FORTRESS OF SERINGAPATAM, FROM THE CULLALY DEEDY GATE  
Watercolour over pencil, original wash-line mount;
inscribed on the mount lower centre: CULLALY DEEDY, or water-gate in the Outer rampart of SERINGAPATAM, where TIPPOO SULTAUN [sic] resided during the Siege. -;
further inscribed verso: memory of happy days in Pudukkotai / Feb / 1960 / Douglas Barrett  
475 by 677 mm; 18 3/4  by 26 3/4  in
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Provenance

Douglas Barrett (1917-1992);
given by him to the Maharaja of Pudokkotai, 1960;
Private Collection, since circa 1975

Literature

A. Wilton and D. Blayney Brown 'The Siege of Seringapatam', Turner Studies, His Art & Epoch 1775-1851, Summer 1988, vol. 8, no. 1, p. 59;
H. Mallalieu, 'Turner to Tipu,' Country Life Magazine, September 2012, pp. 146-7

Catalogue Note

In this large watercolor Turner depicts part of the mighty fortress at Seringapatam, which lies some eight miles north of Mysore and two hundred and fifty miles south-west of Madras.  In the foreground a British soldier, dressed in his red and white regimental uniform, reclines on the banks of the River Canery.  On a sun-drenched plain beyond, a lively procession, revolving around a person being carried on a litter, is in progress.  In the distance, guards quietly patrol the city's imposing battlements, while above, several birds wheel in a clear sky.

Tipu Sultan made Seringaptam his capital and it was described at the end of the 18th Century, as the 'the richest, most convenient and beautiful spot possessed... by any native Prince of India.'1  He, and his father before him, had fought valiantly against the British during the Anglo-Mysore wars, a conflict that erupted in 1766 and was to rumble on for the following thirty-three years.  In May 1799, however, the British sent 21,000 men, under the command of General Sir David Baird, to storm the fortress.  The decisive victory that followed not only resulted in the death of Tipu Sultan himself but also led to Lord Harris declaring that 'Now India is ours!'. 

Back in England, news of the victory was greeted by an enthusiastic public.  India in general and the siege in particular were highly fashionable topics of conversation and many artists responded to this.  Turner was no exception and he created the present work in circa 1800, as part of a series of four watercolors revolving around this theme.  The remaining works from this group are entitled: The Siege of Seringaptam (Tate Gallery), Hoollay Deedy, or new Sally-port in the Inner Rampart of Seringaptam (Clark Art Institue, Williamstown), and The Residence of the Mysore Rajah within the Fort of Seringapatam, during the Last Three Years of his Confinement (Private Collection). 

As Turner had never visited the sub-continent himself he relied on sketches taken 'on the spot' by amateur draughtsman.  Intriguingly, in the collection at Tate Britain there is a watercolor study by Turner of this same view, which clearly acted as an intermediate stage in between the present, finished work, and the amateur topographical sketch. 

The present watercolour was once owned by Douglas Barrett, a former Curator of Oriental Antiquities at the British Museum.  After many visits to India, Barrett gave the work to the Maharaja of Pudokkotai, whose family then sold it in the 1970s to the present owner. 

1.  Tigers Around The Throne, The Court of Tipu Sultan (1751-1799), Zamana Gallery, London, 1990, p. 9 

Old Master Drawings

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