Skip to main content

Indian Mutiny Medal: CM.1281-2009

An image of Indian Mutiny Medal

Terms of use

These images are provided for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons License (BY-NC-ND). To license a high resolution version, please contact our image library who will discuss fees, terms and waivers.

Download this image

Creative commons explained - what it means, how you can use our's and other people's content.

Alternative views

Object information

Current Location: In storage


Mint: London
Artist: Wyon, William
Artist: Wyon, Leonard Charles
Ruler: Victoria (1837-1901)
Ruler: Victoria regina (With the title of)




The Indian Mutiny of 1857, now regarded in some quarters of India as the First Indian War of Independence, has a history far too complex to be fairly explained here. In briefest summary, resentment at British snubbing of both Hindu and Muslim religious practices among the Sepoy (indigenous) troops of the British East India Company, whose complaints were regarded as mere superstitious nonsense by the European officers of the Company, became the spark that ignited a metaphorical powder keg of Bengali and Northern Indian resentment at the Company's taxation policies, its ever-more-extensive expropriations of Indian landowners' and rulers' territories under threat of arms, and its rearrangement of the Indian economy to suit the Company's entirely commercial interests.
Initial arson attacks and insubordination in early 1857 were followed by whole-unit mutinies and before long coordinated attacks by indigenous soldiery on Europeans in Indian towns. Full-scale war followed, and an initially-slow British resistance, still aided by many Indian troops, entailed perhaps as vicious a set of atrocities against the rebels as they or their civilian cohorts had committed against Europeans. Indian forces were uncoordinated, despite Bahadur Shah Zafur, Emperor of the Mughal rump state around Delhi, being proclaimed Emperor of all India and Sepoy rebels rallying to his standard. British and pro-British forces had secured the country again by mid-1858, and a programme of purges that became known as "the Devil's Wind", including thousands of executions, sometimes of whole village populations, attempted to ensure that the event would not be repeated. Bahadur Shah was exiled to Rangoon, and the East India Company's rule taken over directly by the British Crown.
Although most of the fighting in the rebellion took place in Bengal and the North, Rani Lakshmi Bai, widow of the Raja of Jhansi whose state had been annexed by the East India Co. in 1853 under the controversial Doctrine of Lapse, used the rebellion to attempt to regain power in her Central Indian state. Her attempts to safely expel the British from her city, whose sincerity has been questioned, failed, and thereafter she had not only to face invasions from the neighbouring Rajas of Datia and Orccha but, with those repelled, an implacable British campaign against her. Jhansi fell in March 1858 after a short siege, but Lakshmi Bai escaped. Her substantial but poorly-equipped forces gave battle in vain at Kalpi in May 1858, and then fell back to Gwalior, which they captured from its loyalist Scinde rulers on 1st June. Here the Rani's luck finally ran out when she was killed in the first days of the subsequent British siege later in the month.
For participation in this campaign the Central India bar was awarded to the Indian Mutiny Medal in 1858. One recipient of it was Private Patrick MacDonald of the 3rd Bombay European Regiment, whose medal this is. Lester Watson purchased it at some point before 1928.


History note: Gift of L. Hoyt Watson; ex Lester Watson Collection, bt before 1928

Legal notes

Given by Lester Watson through Cambridge in America, 2009

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 36.3 mm
Weight: 39.47 g

Place(s) associated

  • London

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2009) by Watson, Lester


1858 - 1868

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: Bust of Victoria facing left

  • Location: Obverse
  • Type: Design

Inscription present: Britannia before lion standing facing left, she with wreath in right hand

  • Location: Reverse
  • Type: Design

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: CM.1281-2009
Primary reference Number: 141375
Watson Catalogue: 183
Ordering: M-0164
Previous object number: LW.0164
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 15 January 2024 Last processed: Monday 15 January 2024

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Coins and Medals

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Indian Mutiny Medal" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-15 09:45:54

Citation for Wikipedia

To cite this record on Wikipedia you can use this code snippet:

{{cite web|url= |title=Indian Mutiny Medal |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-15 09:45:54|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

API call for this record

To call these data via our API (remember this needs to be authenticated) you can use this code snippet:

Bootstrap HTML code for reuse

To use this as a simple code embed, copy this string:

<div class="text-center">
    <figure class="figure">
        <img src=""
        alt="Indian Mutiny Medal"
        class="img-fluid" />
        <figcaption class="figure-caption text-info">Indian Mutiny Medal</figcaption>

More objects and works of art you might like

Indian Mutiny Medal

Accession Number: CM.7145-2007

Indian Mutiny Medal

Accession Number: CM.QC.5086-R

Indian Mutiny Medal

Accession Number: CM.QC.5088-R

Indian Mutiny Medal

Accession Number: CM.QC.5089-R

Suggested products from Curating Cambridge

You might be interested in this...

Sign up for updates

Updates about future exhibitions and displays, family activities, virtual events & news. You'll be the first to know...