The Gallery holds the most extensive collection of portraits in the world. Search over 215,000 works, 150,000 of which are illustrated from the 16th Century to the present day.

Advanced Collection search

Search the Collection

Maharaja Duleep Singh

(1838-1893), Maharaja of Lahore

Sitter in 6 portraits
Duleep Singh, the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire, succeeded his late father Ranjit Singh at the age of five. The British conquest of the Punjab saw the passing of the 1846 Treaty of Lahore, which handed administration of the state and the 'protection' of the Maharaja over to the British government.. In 1848, aged ten years old, Singh was separated from his mother who was regarded as a threat to the British empire. He was removed from the Punjab, his title and power devolved. He was forced to surrender or 'gift' the world's largest cut diamond, known as the Koh-i-Noor diamond, to Queen Victoria. Without his family around him and living in a predominantly Christian household under the care of Dr Login, Singh's cultural identity was steadily erased. At the age of fifteen, he converted to Christianity. Granted permission to travel, he arrived in London in 1854, staying at Claridges Hotel before being invited by Queen Victoria to stay with the Royal family at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. A friendship of sorts ensued with Queen Victoria who eventually became godmother to Prince Victor Albert Jay Duleep Singh. His life was lived under scrutiny and prohibitions by the British, he was allowed to return to India only twice, both short, controlled visits; once to bring his mother out of exile to live with him in Britain and then to take her body back to be buried in India. He eventually became embittered by his exile and loss of sovereignty, converting back to Sikhism. He died in Paris; his last wish to be buried in India was not honoured, he was instead buried at Elveden Hall, his former family residence while in England.

Tell us More

3 Likes voting
is closed

Thanks for Liking

Please Like other favourites!
If they inspire you please support our work.

Make a donation Close

ListThumbnail

Tell us more back to top

Can you tell us more about this person? Spotted an error, information that is missing (a sitter’s life dates, occupation or family relationships, or a date of portrait for example) or do you know anything that we don't know? If you have information to share please complete the form below.

If you require information from us, please use our Archive enquiry service. You can buy a print of most illustrated portraits. Select the portrait of interest to you, then look out for a Buy a Print button. Prices start at £6 for unframed prints, £25 for framed prints. If you wish to license an image, please use our Rights and Images service.

Please note that we cannot provide valuations.

We digitise over 8,000 portraits a year and we cannot guarantee being able to digitise images that are not already scheduled.

What can you tell us?close

There are occasions when we are unsure of the identity of a sitter or artist, their life dates, occupation or have not recorded their family relationships. Sometimes we have not recorded the date of a portrait. Do you have specialist knowledge or a particular interest about any aspect of the portrait or sitter or artist that you can share with us? We would welcome any information that adds to and enhances our information and understanding about a particular portrait, sitter or artist.

Citationclose

How do you know this? Please could you let us know your source of information.

* Permission to publish (Privacy information)
Privacy Informationclose

The National Portrait Gallery will NOT use your information to contact you or store for any other purpose than to investigate or display your contribution. By ticking permission to publish you are indicating your agreement for your contribution to be shown on this collection item page. Please note your email address will not be displayed on the page nor will it be used for any marketing material or promotion of any kind.

Please ensure your comments are relevant and appropriate. Your contributions must be polite and with no intention of causing trouble. All contributions are moderated.

Your Emailclose

Contributions are moderated. We'll need your email address so that we can follow up on the information provided and contact you to let you know when your contribution has been published.

Listen

Pioneer Podcasts

Listen to a series of podcasts exploring the lives of pioneering women, past and present.

Explore the podcasts

Untitled, c.1973 (Alex Chilton) by William Eggleston © Eggleston Artistic Trust

Eggleston Playlist

William Eggleston was closely associated with the alternative music scene in Memphis. Revisit our 2016 exhibition and listen to a special playlist.

Listen to the playlist

Archive interviews

Links to audio and transcripts of interviews with artists, sitters and historic recordings.

Watch, listen and read