Historical Portraits Picture Archive

Lieutenant-Colonel George Maule (1751-93), wearing a military uniform Oval, 72mm (2 13/16 in.) high

John Smart (1741-1811)

Lieutenant-Colonel George Maule (1751-93), wearing a military uniform, John Smart
18th Century
The artist; To his widow Mary Morton; By family descent to Mabel Annie Busteed (née Bose) by whom sold; Probably Christies, London, 17 December 1936, Lot 20 as ‘Head of Colonel Edr Maule – dated 1790’ (with two other works); Bought from above by Leo Schidlof (£13); Karin Henninger-Tavcar by 2001 as an unknown gentleman; Private Collection, Germany.
D. Foskett, John Smart, The Man and his Miniatures, London, 1964, pp.70, where incorrectly named ‘Colonel Edward Maule’.
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The identity of the sitter in the present work has been somewhat confused in the past due to the misunderstanding of an inscription on the reverse which reads: ‘Col. ‘ Maurle/1790’. When sold at Christie’s in 1936 this was incorrectly interpreted as ‘Colonel Edr Maule’ which was later expanded further by Daphne Foskett to ‘Colonel Edward Maule’ in her monograph on Smart.

It can now be proved with certainty that the sitter is in fact Lieutenant-Colonel George Maule (c.1793) of the Madras Engineers, following the recent emergence of a portrait of the same sitter by Johann Zoffany (1733-1810) painted earlier in 1783.

Maule entered the service in 1770 and played an active role in the fortification and upkeep of Fort St. George, Madras. Following the death of his predecessor Major Stevens at the Siege of Pondicherry in 1778, Maule, who was then a Major, was promoted to Acting Chief-Engineer. East India Company records show that one of Maule’s first tasks in his new post was to develop a method of water retention within the fort, which he suggested could be resolved though integrating a number of cisterns into the eastern front of the fort. This proposal was passed by the Select Committee in Madras in early 1779. Maule’s other duties during this period included advising on the construction of canals, bridges and houses as well as keeping a close eye on the appropriation of buildings and structures within the fort. In 1786, after a brief period spent in Masulipatam, Maule was appointed Superintendent of the Company’s Grounds at Fort St. George, which included the repair and construction of roads, avenues and boundaries within the fort and the surrounding areas.

In 1793 the French declared war against England and Holland and it was decided that the French-held district, Pondicherry, one hundred miles south of Fort St. George, must be captured. It was during this siege in 1793, the same year he was promoted Lieutenant-Colonel, that Maule was killed.
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