The Seringapatam Jewels
The emeralds in these jewels formed part of the reward given to Major-General George Harris for his part in the defeat of Tipu Sultan at the Battle of Seringapatam in India in 1799. The jewels also included a set of rubies.
Most of the jewels allocated to Lord Harris were sold, but some were kept in the family to be reset and re-cut by succeeding generations. The majority here were set between 1874 and 1887 for Lucy Ada, wife of the 4th Lord Harris.
England, about 1874-1930
Emeralds, diamonds, gold and silver
Lent by the Harris (Belmont) Charity
V&A: Loan: Harris.1 to 12
This portrait shows Lady Harris wearing some of the emeralds from the Seringapatam Jewels.
She married George, the 4th Lord Harris, in 1874, and it was for her use that many of the gems were reset. When she travelled with her husband to India and South Africa, she brought the Seringapatam Jewels along in their bespoke leather case.
By an unknown artist
Oil on canvas
By Kind Permission of the Trustees of The Harris (Belmont) Charity
George Harris, 1st Baron Harris (1746-1829) had a distinguished career as a soldier. By the time he reached India he had already served in the American War of Independence, the West Indies and Ireland. In recognition of his achievements, Harris received promotions in the army and an English peerage as Baron Harris in 1815.
Mezzotint by Samuel William Reynolds
After a portrait by Arthur William Devis
National Portrait Gallery,London
General Harris bought Belmont House in 1801 with the help of the prize money from Seringapatam. Like the jewels, it remained in the family and is now in the care of the Harris (Belmont) Charity. It is open to the public.