About this artwork

This enormous picture was commissioned after Sir David Baird’s death by his wife, Lady Baird, as a private memorial. It took four years to complete, and for Baird’s posthumous likeness, Wilkie turned to a sculpture by the Scottish artist, Laurence Macdonald (NG 2719). Baird had been in India with the British Army in 1779, when he was taken prisoner by Haidar 'Ali, the ruler of the Mysore Kingdom. Imprisoned for four years, Baird was only released after the signing of the treaty of Mangalore. He remained in the army, engaging Haidar 'Ali’s son, Tipu Sultan (Tippoo Saib), during the Third and Fourth Anglo-Mysore Wars. The latter conflict ceased in 1799 when Tipu was killed as his stronghold of Seringapatam was stormed after a month-long siege. Wilkie portrays Baird at the decisive moment Tipu’s body was discovered.

Updated before 2020

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  • artist:
    Sir David WilkieScottish (1785 - 1841)
  • title:
    General Sir David Baird Discovering the Body of Sultan Tippoo Sahib after having Captured Seringapatam, on the 4th May, 1799
  • date created:
    1839
  • materials:
    Oil on canvas
  • measurements:
    348.50 x 267.90 cm (framed: 398.30 x 322.70 x 20.00 cm)
  • object type:
  • credit line:
    Presented by Irvine Chalmers Watson, received 1985
  • accession number:
    NG 2430
  • gallery:
  • depicted:
  • subject:
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve
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Sir David Wilkie

Sir David Wilkie