The imperialism is repugnant, but there is no doubt that this rare card by British publisher C.W. Faulkner & Co. is a masterpiece of design. From the writing space to the coloured flag over the triton portrait, the gold and silver, the sense of dignified restraint, the portrait of Clive of India and the roster of his battles – all combine to great effect. Heraldic cards, designed by the English painter and sculptor Frederick Leighton (1830-1896), were an early specialty of Faulkner.
As for Clive, as William Dalrymple relates so nicely in The Anarchy (2019), his many battlefield successes and great stolen wealth hardly translated into happiness.