a great sri lanka and hunting rarity.
CAPPER, John. The Duke of Edinburgh in Ceylon. A Book of Elephant and Elk Sport. Provost & Co., 1871.
4to. Original red cloth, covers with multiple fillet borders in gilt and black, with a centrally-placed gilt vignette of an elephant, braced by the title, also in gilt, reprised on the lower cover, all edges gilt; pp. , vi, , 149, [2, advertisements], with 8 superb high-tone chromolithographed plates, printed by Vincent Brooks, Day and Son; binding a little marked in places and expertly rebacked, endpapers renewed; occasional foxing, mainly to text; bookplate Brendon Gooneratne (see below) inside front cover.
First edition. 'With the exception of one or two who presented some of the symptoms of incipient asphyxia, induced by an overdose of soda-water and corned beef on the previous evening, all were ready for the muster-call as the sun rose and shot its first rays on the tall summit of Kirigalpota. The day's proceedings were initiated by the presentation of a handsome hunting-knife to the Prince, by the gentlemen of the Dick Oya Hunt, headied by Messrs. Fetherstonehaugh and Kelly. No sooner was this done than hte entire camp m oved forward towards the hunting-ground, the Prince and his party leading the way ... ' (pp. 77-8).
'John Capper was born in England in 1814. He started his journalistic career early in life, helping to edit an English weekly called The Mining and Steam Navigation Gazette before he came out to Ceylon in 1837. He took up a position in the firm of Acland and Boyd, an agency house primarily involved in coffee. After a few years he became manager of the firm's cinnamon properties. Then in 1846 he was promoted as a junior partner in charge of the entire export business. Besides his regular job, Capper had edited the Ceylon Magazine, a periodical for Orientalists and antiquarians, between 1840 and 1842. Though short-lived, it demonstrated the need for such a forum - a need that was to be satisfied in 1845 when Capper and 33 others formed the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. Capper was appointed as Treasurer and Librarian ... The coffee crash of 1847 resulted in Acland and Boyd suspending business, and a year later Capper returned to England and contributed articles on Ceylon life to Charles Dickens' popular periodical, Household Words … Ten years after he left Ceylon, he returned to become the manager and editor of the Times of Ceylon, and also edited the short-lived Muniandi (The Ceylon Punch), which offered a more acute analysis of the weaknesses of colonial society than the Ceylon Magazine, which he had edited earlier. Muniandi was illustrated by J.L.K. Van Dort, who was probably the best-known painter and illustrator working in Ceylon at that time. "From 1850 up to his death in 1896," art historian Ismeth Raheem declares, "he recorded almost every event of importance with his deft, quick sketches." Van Dort was to make an important contribution to Capper's book on the royal visit' (The Sunday Times, 13th September 1998, on-line).
Czech p.43; not in in Schwerdt, and Yasmine Gooneratne, English Literature in Ceylon, 1815-1878, but her husband Brendan's copy with his bookplate.