This watercolour is sheet no.4 in a folio of Indian sketches
made in 1792-1794 by Lieutenant Thomas Marriott while serving as an officer in the Madras Army of the British East India Company.
Although undated, this sketch relates to the August 1793 Siege of Pondicherry in which the British colonial army laid siege to the fort of Pondicherry, the centre of French colonial settlement in India. The French surrendered to Colonel Braithwaite, acting Commander-in-Chief of the Madras Army, on 23 August, given authorisation by Colonel Prosper de Clermont, French governor of Pondicherry, to take possession of the two main entrances to the city, the Villanore gate on the south-west of the city and the Madras gate to the north.
Marriott’s sketch shows some details of the defences of Pondicherrry including the wet ditch, curtain walls and ravelins or triangular fortifications outside the gates. The role of the outer side of the ravelin was to divide an assault force while the inner side was usually a low wall so as not to provide shelter to attacking forces. Marriott depicts a British army patrol inside this low wall. [MM, September 2019]