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Lieutenant-General (later General Sir) Robert Brownrigg, 1810 (c)

Oil on canvas by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), 1810 (c).

Robert Brownrigg (1759-1833) was commissioned an ensign in the 14th Regiment of Foot in 1775. As he did not come from a wealthy family, he relied upon his abilities for promotion and, by 1793 he had reached the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the 88th Regiment of Foot (Connaught Rangers), joining the army in the Netherlands as deputy quartermaster-general. It was during this campaign that Brownrigg became the special protégé of the Duke of York. When the duke was made Commander-in-Chief of the Army in 1795, Brownrigg was appointed his military secretary.

Promoted major-general in 1802, Brownrigg became a lieutenant-general in 1808 and Quartermaster-General in the disastrous Walcheren Expedition of 1809. From 1812 to 1820, he was posted to Ceylon (or Kandy) as Governor and Commander-in-Chief. While the English occupied a number of coastal towns, the interior of the island was ruled by a king. However, when the king tortured and murdered ten British subjects, Brownrigg declared war against him and by 1815 had conquered and annexed the Kingdom. The victory was celebrated by the traditional, mile-long procession in the capital, in the presence of the Sacred Tooth Relic of the Buddha.

Brownrigg was created a baronet in 1816 and promoted general in 1819. Returning to England in 1820, he was allowed to bear the crown, sceptre and banner of the kingdom of Kandy in his coat of arms. He served as governor of Landguard Fort from 1823 until his death in 1833.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1966-07-23-1


Donated by Sir Nicholas Brownrigg, Bt


National Army Museum, Out of Copyright


National Army Museum, Study Collection

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