Hyder Ali Khan (c. 1720-1782)

Hyder Ali Khan (c. 1720-1782)
at time of Anglo-Mysore War

Size: 19.8 x 14.6 in (50.3 x 37.1 cm)
Date of printing: 1880s-1890s

The most famous portrait of Hyder Ali printed by Chitrashala Press is based on a steel engraving by a British artist from 1780. During the second Anglo-Mysore War, the British captured the west-coast port of Mahe. It was part of a concerted effort by the British to capture all French outposts followed by the 1778 French entry into the American Revolutionary War against British. So, Hyder Ali concluded an alliance with the French, and used the services of French workmen in raising his artillery and arsenal. Hyder received much of his French-supplied equipment through this French-controlled port, and also provided troops for its defense.

Hyder had amicable relations with the Christian population in Mangalore (Portuguese influence). He had a very close friendship with two Goan Catholic clergymen and allowed a Protestant missionary to live at his court. Hyder’s army also included Catholic soldiers, and he allowed Christians to build a church at Seringapatam, where French generals used to offer prayers.