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Maps, views and documents from 19 wars

John Cleeve Pleydell (1736-1816)

Pondicherry, 1760-61

Plan of the City and Environs of Pondicherry, Invested by the English Army under the Command of Colonel / Coote the of September 1760, and Surrender’d Prisoners of War the of January 1761 c.1760-65

Pencil, ink and watercolour on paper; some pricking through | Scale: 1:20,200 approx. | RCIN 733020

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A map of Pondicherry and environs showing the positions of the British troops, commanded by Colonel (later Sir), Eyre Coote (1726-83), during their siege of the city between 27 September 1760 and the surrender by the French on 16 January 1761. Seven Years War (1756-63): Third Carnatic War (1757-63). Oriented with west-north-west to top (cardinal points). 

This finely executed drawing is done in the style of cartography which developed in the Board of Ordnance Tower Drawing Room in the first half of the eighteenth century, and which was brought to a high standard on the Military Survey of Scotland (1747-55) for which Paul Sandby was the chief draughtsman, and Pleydell was one of the surveyors/draughtsmen. The scale is given in French units of measure, suggesting that this map is possibly copied from captured French mapping. 

This is one of fourteen manuscript plans in the collection by Pleydell of fortifications and/or actions during the Third Carnatic War (1757-63), which was part of the Seven Years War. They were all placed, in Cumberland's original collection, in Volume IV/70/1-14. Their current RCIN numbers are 732125, 732126, 733001-8, 733016.a, 733027, 733028. It is not known when they were drawn but it must have been sometime before Cumberland's death in 1765. The source material for this set of plans is unknown. There is no evidence to suggest that Pleydell ever went to India and, in 1760, he was serving in Germany. It is possible that the maps by John Call, Chief Engineer, Madras Engineers (see RCINs 733021 and 733022) may also have formed part of the compilation materials, although the detail of the entrenchments to the north of the city is different.

  • John Cleeve Pleydell (1736-1816) (draughtsman) [bottom right, inside neatline:] L.t Pleydell.

  • Watermark: Fleur-de-lys in crowned shield, the letters GR below; countermark: JWHATMAN

    Mark, stamped: 916

    Condition: one fold line; slight brown discolouration to both sides

  • Scale: 1:20,200 approx. Scale bar: 800 Toises [77 mm =].

    42.3 x 46.5 cm (neatline)

    47.3 x 69.9 cm (image)

    50.2 x 72.8 cm (sheet)

  • Manuscript title:

    Plan of the City and Environs of Pondicherry, Invested by the English Army under the Command of Colonel / Coote the of September 1760, and Surrender’d Prisoners of War the of January 1761. [top, in plain rectangular panel]

    Additional text:

    [down left and right sides of the map, in plain rectangular panels, a key, A-I, K-T, V, X-Z, &, a-i, k-n, 1-13 to the batteries, gates, principal buildings, and redoubts in and around the city, together with a resumé of the numbers of prisoners of war and captured military stores.]


    George III heading: Pondicherry 27 Sep. - 16 Jan. 1761.

    Other annotations: (Recto) none. (Verso) [top right, along top edge, black pencil, erased and now partly legible:] [?] Verdachilum [?]; [bottom, right of centre, ink:] IV./70./12. [no ‘No’]; [bottom, right of centre, black pencil, erased:] XVI/[73]; [bottom, right of centre, black pencil:] [73]; [bottom, right of centre, above old heading, black pencil:] Pondicherry 27 Sep. – 16 Jan. 1761.

    George III catalogue entry:

    Pondicherry A drawn Plan of the City and Environs of Pondicherry invested by the English Army under the command of Colonel Coote, the of Sept.r 1760, and surrendered the of Jan.y 1761: by Lieut. Pleydell.

  • Probably from the collection of military and naval maps and prints formed by Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland (1721-65), third son of George II; subsequently acquired by George III (1738-1820)

  • Subject(s)

    Puducherry, Tamil Nādu, India (11°55'48"N 79°49'48"E)

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