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Captain (later Lieutenant-Colonel) William Sandys, 5th Bengal Native Infantry, 1799

Oil on canvas by Robert Home, 1802 (c).

Sandys (1759-1829) joined the Bengal Army of the East India Company in 1779, and saw action during the 1st Maratha War (1778-1782) and the 3rd Mysore War (1790-1792). He was appointed major in the 5th Bengal Native Infantry in 1803, followed shortly in 1804 by promotion to Lieutenant-Colonel in the 15th Bengal Native Infantry. He retired to his estate in Lanarth, Cornwall in 1805.

The charming painting shows Captain Sandys with his first wife Charlotte and his sons William (born in 1795) and Allan (born in 1799). Charlotte died in 1802 and Sandys remarried. He also had an illegitimate son, John Francis (born in 1788), by an Indian mistress - an occurrence that was not uncommon with British officers in India in the 18th century. Robert Home's sitters' book records that he painted four paintings of Sandys both with and without his family. This one cost 1500 rupees (about £6,000 in today's money).

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1976-09-56-1


National Army Museum, Out of Copyright


National Army Museum, Study Collection

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