<p>This watercolour represents the great trials faced by the intrepid superintendents who opened the first coffee estates in Ceylon [Sri Lanka] in the central hill districts around Kandy during the late 1820s and 1830s. The journey to the newly purchased land often entailed exhausting travel through pathless lowland swamps and virgin jungle. All the tools, equipment, seed and provisions required for the enterprise would be loaded into bullock carts which carried the planter and the initial Tamil workforce. This scene captures the very first tasks to be completed: the construction of thatched huts to house the labourers, and a rudimentary shelter for the planter, often made from the large, straight and sturdy leaves of the talipot palm. It was also imperative to fell a small block of trees and establish a nursery. The coffee seeds sowed here, when germinated, would provide the plants for the foundation of the estate.</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%2F20'>here</a></p>
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