I have just been to see the inspiring Fabric of India Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Among the exhibits is the tent once owned by Tipu Sultan, the ruler of Mysore, which has been borrowed from Powis Castle for the exhibition.
The 2nd Lord Clive acquired the tent after the defeat of Tipu Sultan by the British in 1799, which is how it ended up at the Clive seat of Powis Castle.
About two-thirds of the tent has been set up in the exhibition, more than is usually on display at Powis. It was amazing to get a inkling of what it was like to enter such a sumptuous royal tent.
These tents were effectively portable miniature palaces. When originally set up it would have been surrounded by the tents of court nobles and officials, mirroring a real palace complex.
I learned from the exhibition catalogue that the tent is in the Mughal style and actually predates Tipu’s reign, so it may have been a gift from another ruler or an heirloom. At Powis Castle it was used for many years as a marquee during garden parties.