Tipu’s tiger throne finial to be auctioned in LondonMarch 20th, 2009 - 7:00 pm ICT by IANS
By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, March 20 (IANS) Ten years after being found lying in the vaults of an English bank, a gem-encrusted gold finial plundered from Tipu Sultan’s huge golden throne is being put up for sale in London.
Auctioneers Bonhams, who describe the finial as “one of the most important Tipu items ever to appear for sale”, have valued it at around 800,000 pounds.
The tiger-head finial was one of eight that stood on each end of a gigantic gold octagonal throne in Seringpatnam, on which Tipu - a legendary admirer of the tiger - would have sat cross-legged, but didn’t because he vowed not to mount it until he had defeated the British.
It was discovered during a routine inspection by auctioneers in the late 1990s, having lain in an English castle for at least 100 years and then in a bank vault.
Only two more of the eight finials are known to exist - one is in the Clive Collection in Wales. Another briefly appeared in a London dealer’s catalogue in the 1970s, never to be seen again, Claire Penhallurick of Bonhams Indian and Islamic Department, told IANS Friday.
The finial going under the hammer April 2 belongs to the family of Thomas Wallace, who oversaw the East India Company, whose army defeated Tipu Sultan in the battle of Seringapatnam (Srirangapatnam) May 4, 1799.
Penhallurick said Tipu’s majestic gold throne was broken up and plundered in such a hurry by the victorious British that little is known about the fate of the remaining throne relics, although a large gold tiger head from the front of the throne platform now resides at Queen Elizabeth II’s home in Windsor Castle along with a jewelled bird.
The tiger head, which is encrusted with diamonds, rubies and emeralds, had lain at Featherstone Castle in Northumberland before being hidden away in a bank.
“The British, sadly, weren’t very well behaved in Seringapatnam,” Penhallurick said.
“I would have thought a lot of the other finials have come to Britain. Others could have picked them up in India.
“We hope it goes back to India,” she told IANS.
Tipu, who adopted the tiger as the symbol of his power and kingship, became the East India Company’s most feared foe, famously declaring: “I would rather live one day as a tiger than a lifetime as a sheep.”
Penhallurick described the finial as “without a doubt, of the greatest historical significance as it belongs to the most important symbolic object in Tipu Sultan’s kingdom, his throne, which he refused to mount until he had defeated the British.”
–Indo-Asian News SErvice
- Gem-encrusted gold tiger from Tipu Sultan's throne to go under the hammer - Aug 07, 2010
- Historic Tipu Sultan painting on sale by Osian's (With Image) - Jun 05, 2012
- Tipu Sultan's 24 paintings highlight of Sotheby's sale - Sep 28, 2010
- William, Kate say no to wedding gifts - Jan 16, 2011
- Mysore royal house unveils spring-summer collection - Mar 11, 2011
- India not planning to bring Kohinoor back - Aug 18, 2010
- Karnataka Government to restore symbolic royal respect to Tipu Sultan's descendants - Jul 31, 2009
- I'm a Bengali, says Tipu Sultan's descendant - Jul 27, 2010
- Tipu Sultan painting to be auctioned in Britain - Sep 05, 2012
- Anonymous bidder buys 24 Tipu paintings at 769,250 pounds (With Image) - Oct 06, 2010
- Cleanliness freak JLo's loo woes - Jun 26, 2012
- Prayer held for Osama in Kolkata mosque - May 06, 2011
- Kamal Haasan to star in Gokulam Gopalan's next - Aug 31, 2011
- $8-mn iPad 2 features dinosaur bone - Jul 30, 2011
- London's V&A; Museum showcases Tagore, Kalighat paintings - Oct 18, 2011
Tags: bank vault, bonhams, castle in northumberland, dipankar, east india company, english castle, finial, finials, gold tiger, golden throne, london dealer, london march, queen elizabeth, queen elizabeth ii, routine inspection, sarkar, thomas wallace, tiger head, tipu sultan, windsor castle