The bust shows Sir Henry Havelock (1795-1857). In 1857-8 there was an uprising in India against the British East India Company, which functioned as a sovereign power on behalf of the British Crown. The uprising is known by many names, including India's First War of Independence and the Sepoy Mutiny. Havelock's forces were responsible for torching towns in response to the uprising, resulting in the mass killing of urban populations. Captured rebel Sepoys were executed by being 'blown from a gun' - the victim was tied to the mouth of a cannon, scattering their remains and thus making burial difficult.
This portrait is a part of the Flux: Parian unpacked, which is a bold installation by ceramic artist and curator Matt Smith, displaying for the first time over 100 busts from the newly-acquired Glynn collection of parian ware. Seeking to understand why Museums and society celebrate some historical figures, but not other, the exhibition challenges established notions of British history and colonialism.
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