|Bird of Paradise|
Gold, Silver, Diamonds, Emeralds, Rubies
Stolen from the Throne of Tipu,
Sulatan of Mysore, 1799
Presented to George III
The Royal Collection
Prior to being given to George III, the “Bird of Paradise” was actually a piece of the magnificent golden throne (made up of life-sized gold and bejweled tigers) of Tipu, Sultan of Mysore, India. The bird of diamonds, rubies, gold, emeralds, pearls and silver sat atop the throne and was considered a symbol of happiness. Should the bird ever touch the ground, that would mean an end to peace. Well, the bird hit the ground. In 1799, when Tipu Sultan’s citadel was ransacked and he was overthown and killed, British soldiers hacked his glorious throne to pieces and took the prizes home as glittering trophies. This stolen beauty was presented to George III by The East India Company. George III gave it to
Queen Charlotte who bequeathed it to their daughters, who, in turn gave it to King George IV around 1818.