The Company in crisis

Created: 05.09.11

The East India Company took control of vast areas of India, expanding inland from the mid-1700s. Its methods of rule and their consequences were sharply criticized by some in Britain, and were deeply resented by millions of Indians.

Violent rebellion in India in 1857, and the bloody repression that followed, brought the Company to its knees. In the wake of these events, the British government abolished the Company in 1858. Britain then governed India until independence in 1947.

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  • Name
  • Artist / Maker
  • Date made
  • ID
  • Huggins, William John
    After 1835
    OP1953-24
    The opium clipper Sylph salvaged by the sloop Clive, 1835

    This ship was designed by Sir Robert Seppings, the surveyor of the Royal Navy and built at Calcutta in 1831 for the Parsee merchant Rustomjee Cowasjee who wanted a ship that could cope with monsoons. She had a complement of…

  • Unknown
    1857
    87
    Chinese flag

    Imperial Chinese flag acquired by Robert John Le Mesurier McClure (1807-73) during the capture of Canton in December 1857. The City of Canton was attacked by a combined British and French force. McClure led one of three divisions of the…

  • Unknown
    1819
    FHD0102
    HMS Seringapatam [Tipu Sultan?]

    Figurehead of HMS 'Seringapatam' a 46-gun fifth-rate (frigate) built for the Navy in India, at Bombay Dockyard, in 1819. It became a receiving ship in 1847 and in 1852 a coal hulk at the Cape of Good Hope, where it…

  • Collard & Collard
    circa 1857
    Y2000.023
    Bugle

    Brass bugle used by the naval brigades serving in the Crimea and the Indian Mutiny under the command of Sir William Peel (1824-1858).

  • Henry Wilkinson
    1856
    Y2000.023
    Sword

    Roman legionary-style sword, which belonged to Captain Sir William Peel (1824-1858). The sword consists of a cruciform hilt made of gilt brass and dark brown wood. The pommel cap is also made of gilt brass and is radially fluted from…

  • Hancocks & Co
    W1993-15
    Victoria Cross

    Victoria Cross awarded to Thomas Young (1826-69). Lieutenant Young took part in the Relief of Lucknow on 17 November 1857. He was commanding a group of sailors in the Naval Brigade from HMS ‘Shannon’ who were attempting to breach the…

  • Wyon, Leonard Charles
    1857
    MED0108
    Indian Mutiny Medal 1857-8

    Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria with a diadem, hair tied in a knot (L). Legend: "VICTORIA REGINA". Reverse: Britannia in a helmet, a shield in her left and a wreath in her right hand. Legend: "INDIA". Exergue: "1857-1858". Suspended from…

  • Unknown
    1858
    X1984.100
    Indian Mutiny Medal 1857-58

    Awarded to John Harrison VC. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria with a diadem, hair tied in a knot (L). Legend: "VICTORIA REGINA". Reverse: Britannia in a helmet, a shield in her left and a wreath in her right hand. Legend:…

  • Unknown
    1858
    W1993-15.3
    Indian Mutiny Medal 1857-58

    Awarded to Thomas Young VC. Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria with a diadem, hair tied in a knot (L). Legend: "VICTORIA REGINA". Reverse: Britannia in a helmet, a shield in her left and a wreath in her right hand. Legend:…

  • School, British
    c. 1856
    OP1967-34
    Captain Sir William Hutcheon Hall (1797?-1878)

    A half-length portrait seated very slightly to left in a captain’s undress coat and epaulettes. His sword is the one presented to him by the crew of ‘Nemesis’ and rests in the crook of his left arm. His right hand…

  • Wyon, William
    1842
    MED0018
    China War Medal 1842

    Obverse: Head of Queen Victoria with a diadem. hair tied in a knot (L). Legend: "VICTORIA REGINA". Reverse: At the foot of a palm tree a trophy of flags, cannon, the royal shield, a capstan, etc. Legend: "ARMIS EXPOSCERE PACEM".…

  • Hancocks & Co
    X1975.074
    Victoria Cross

    Victoria Cross awarded to Edward Robinson (1839-93), Able Seaman RN. At Lucknow on 13 March, some sandbags on top of earthworks caught alight. Able Seaman Robinson, despite being under heavy fire from the enemy, jumped up and extinguished the flames.…

  • Hancocks & Co
    X1984.100
    Victoria Cross

    Victoria Cross awarded to John Harrison (1832-65). Petty Officer Harrison won his Victoria Cross at the Shah Nujeff mosque in 1857. At the time he was a Leading Seaman serving with the Naval Brigades when volunteers were asked for to…