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Sikh items

Map of the North-West Frontier of British India, including the Protected Sikh States, Lahore, Cashmeer, Cabul, Heerat, Candahar, Shikarpore, and Bhawaulpore, together with Sinde and Rajpootana, the Indus River, and part of Beloochistan.

Jean-Baptiste Tassin

Map of the North-West Frontier of British India, including the Protected Sikh States, Lahore, Cashmeer, Cabul, Heerat, Candahar, Shikarpore, and Bhawaulpore, together with Sinde and Rajpootana, the Indus River, and part of Beloochistan. Map of the North-West Frontier of British India, including the Protected Sikh States, Lahore, Cashmeer, Cabul, Heerat, Candahar, Shikarpore, and Bhawaulpore, together with Sinde and Rajpootana, the Indus River, and part of Beloochistan. Map of the North-West Frontier of British India, including the Protected Sikh States, Lahore, Cashmeer, Cabul, Heerat, Candahar, Shikarpore, and Bhawaulpore, together with Sinde and Rajpootana, the Indus River, and part of Beloochistan.

Compiled from the best and most recent authorities by J.B. Tassin. Printed at the Oriental Lithographic Press, Calcutta. Scale of 32 British Miles to 1 inch.

Lithographed with hand-colour in outline; sectionalised and laid on linen. 36 x 31.5 ins.

Published Calcutta 1838

In 1837, 'at the field office in Dehra Dun', under the supervision of the Surveyor-General of India, previous maps of the Punjab, Indus Region etc. by Alexander Burnes, Sir Claude Martine Wade etc. were improved and incorporated into a definitive draught for publication. At this stage, the Surveyor-General had no lithographic press, so with the Government's sanction, he commissioned the Frenchman, Jean-Baptiste Tassin at the Oriental Lithographic Press in Calcutta to carry out its production.

Tassin was regarded as the finest draughtsman and lithographer of maps in British India. At this crucial time, from a strategic point of view, the production of such a high quality and detailed map was of the utmost importance to the British authorities. During this period, at the height of Ranjit Singh's reign, the Sikh states were of particular interest to the British. They had a wary friendship with the Maharaja until the time of his death in 1839. However, immediately after he died, the British started increasing their military strength in the regions adjacent to the Punjab.

In 1841 the Asiatic Society of Bengal notes that Messrs. P.S. D'Rozario and Co. Agents for the sale of Mr. Tassin's maps were offering a 'Map of the North-West Frontier of British India ... including the Protected Sikh States... compiled from the most recent and authentic materials by J. B. Tassin' for 16 rupees.

Tassin is believed to have arrived in Calcutta circa 1838, returning to France circa 1841. From Capt. R.H. Phillimore's Historical Records of the Survey of India, Vol. 4, Dehra Dun 1945, 'Mr. H.T. Prinsep, hearing that he understood lithography, set him up with a loan of 1,000 rupees, and procured for him the execution [printing] of ... the surveys of the Hooghly and Ganges rivers by his late brother, Captain Prinsep of the Engineers, and all the Asiatic Society's and Government work'. It is recorded that Tassin retired to France with the then very substantial sum of £16,000 as a result of his endeavours.

We are aware of only two copies of this remarkable map appearing on the open market in the last 40 years.


High resolution images are available in the PDF – see below.

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