Click on image above to enlarge

1815: first book to be printed in Sri Lanka in the British period

Chater, James A Grammar of the Cingalese Language. Colombo printed at the Government Press, by Nicholas Bergman. 1815
First edition pp.[viii], 141, [1]. Old damp stain to lower margin, just touching text of title and first few pages. Bound in contemporary calf, professionally refurbished. Two old signatures on title page. Small bookplate of Robert & Maria Travis.

The first grammar of Sinhalese compiled by an Englishman and the first substantive book to be printed in Sri Lanka during the British period. When the British took Ceylon from the Dutch, they continued to use the Dutch East India Company's press at Colombo to issue Government documents and regulations. Prior to Chater's work, the only utilitarian item printed was a Ceylon calendar in 1814. Nicholas Bergman became Head Printer in 1815.