Royal Commonwealth Society : Planter asleep on his rope bed

Royal Commonwealth Society

<p> This pencil drawing dramatically portrays the ingenuity, enterprise and endurance of the pioneering planters, who confronted a host of challenges in establishing the first coffee estates in the central hills of Ceylon from 1825 and tea estates in north-east Assam, India, from 1836.  Clearing the jungle in remote, mountainous regions entailed hard work, danger from disease and wild animals, isolation, harsh living conditions and considerable financial risk. The sketch illustrates a rough thatched hut, which was often the only shelter enjoyed by early planters before more permanent accommodation could be built. The planter rests upon his rope bed, with a Chinese cook sitting before a fire in the small ante-room. The scene could have been inspired by the experience of the early coffee planter Edwin Arnold, who wrote, ‘the rats simply swarmed , and at nights they came forth from their hiding places and ate up everything within their reach… getting so bold that one woke me up by actually sitting on my forehead.’</p><p>See Janus record <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='https://janus.lib.cam.ac.uk/db/node.xsp?id=EAD%2FGBR%2F0115%2FRCMS%20365%2F5%2F12'>here</a></p>


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