This is an oil sketch for a picture in the Allentown Art Museum, Pennsylvania.
Tipu (or Tippoo) Sultan, Sultan of Mysore, was one of the last powerful sovereigns in southern India whose kingdom posed a significant threat to British military power. Tipu's eventual defeat at Seringapatam in 1799 marked the start of British territorial expansion in southern India. The events leading up to the defeat were dramatised by several British artists, including Arthur William Devis, Thomas Stothard and Robert Ker Porter. Henry Singleton, who had earlier painted the events of 1792, Lord Cornwallis receiving the sons of Tippoo Sultan as hostages and The Sons of Tippoo Sultan leaving their father, produced four oils illustrating The Surrender of the Two Sons of Tippoo Sultan to Sir David Baird, The Assault and Taking of Seringapatam, The Last Effort and Fall of Tippoo Sultan, and The
Body of Tippoo Sultan recognised by his Family. An oil sketch for the first of these four subjects is in the Paul Mellon Collection at the Yale Center for British Art. This oil sketch is for the second subject, (see Mildred Archer, India and British Portraiture, 1770-1825, p. 430, no. 342.). The British public showed an intense interest in the legend that built up around Tipu Sultan. Five engravers published this series in various editions between 1801 and 1802.