Wednesday 16 October 2019
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
This event is free.
Join Anne Buddle, Head of Collections Management at National Galleries of Scotland, as she explores the life and travels of Lady Henrietta Clive in Tipu’s India in 1800.
Edward and Henrietta Clive arrived in India in 1798, on Lord Clive’s appointment as Governor-General of the Madras Presidency. An immediate threat to British interests was Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore and Terror of Leadenhall Street (the East India Company headquarters in London). With his father, Haidar Ali, Tipu had challenged the British in three Mysore Wars. Tipu’s final defeat and death was in May 1799, while defending Seringapatam – his island capital on the River Cauvery. This saw the infant Hindu rajah restored to the throne of Mysore, British power consolidated in South India and Lord Mornington’s vision of inaugurating an empire realised.
In 1800, Henrietta resolved to go and see for herself the towns, forts, palaces and people of Tipu’s Mysore kingdom and travelled for seven months in South India, with her two daughters and their governess. Henrietta’s Journal and 12 -year old Charlotte’s diary, illustrated with Anna Tonelli’s watercolours, document their experiences, including crossing the River Cauvery; meeting Tipu’s sons, packing saplings to send back to their father Edward and his garden at Madras; meeting the Nawab of Arcot; attending a nautch; and night temperatures of 94F in their tents.
These writings provide a vivid and personal context for the unique collection of Indian objects at Powis Castle, assembled and acquired by the 1st and 2nd Lord Clive when the Indian-subcontinent was a discordant mixture of over a hundred independent Princely States, with competing European powers, expanding far beyond their original coastal trading posts. The words and watercolours of four women on site in Tipu’s Mysore in 1800 offer a convincing alternative to popular, 21st century accusations of loot, racism and arrogance. Instead, this Mysore quartet speaks more of William Jones, the Welshman who unlocked so much of India’s past and made it accessible to all.
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery
Alexandra Road, Swansea, SA1 5DZ