Auction Date: 3/07/2020 at 10am
India - Sikh Siege of Arrah House 'Holding Out at Arrah' a scarce and largely unrecognised engraving of the incident in the Indian Mutiny/Rebellion when 16 European and Eurasian Government civilians and 50 Sikhs of Captina Rattray's Military Police Battalion (45th Sikhs) defended themselves for eight days against approximately 2,500 sepoys from Dinapur and 8,000 irregulars raised by Kunwar Singh (Koor Sing) the local zamindar in Bihar between the 2 July to 3 August 1857. The house had been fortified by Mr Boyle the District Engineer and was 15msq with two floors and a parapeted flat roof as shown in the engraving. The Sikhs were under the command of Jemedar Hooen Singh who is said to have thrown brickbats from the top of the house in his contempt of the sepoys and all bribes offered were met with derision. This famous defence resulted in the Battle Honour 'Defence of Arrah' and 'Bihar' to the Colours of the 45th Sikhs and the defence stands alongside 'The Residency Kabul' and 'Saraghari' in its heroism. The full page image fairly accurately shows the scenario on the fortified flat roof with 8 Sikhs and 8 civilians in the engraving and would have been created from a description given by one of the defenders. There appears to be only two well known images of this defence, one a sketch of the house by Major Vincent Eyre (1857) who relieved the siege and the other a watercolour by William Taylor in 1858 showing the Sepoys attacking the house (photocopies of both are included). From the Illustrated Times (very scarce journal) Oct 185 34x25cm laid to card with printed details to reverse.