Posted on: 16 December 2016

Digital Rare Book:
TIRUTTANTA CANKIRAKAM or, A collection of proverbs in Tamil with their translation in English
By Peter Percival
Published by Jaffna Book Society, Jaffna - 1843

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Peter Percival published the first English-Tamil and English-Telugu dictionaries, as well as several books on Indian culture and religion, which included translations of the literary works of Tamil poet Avvaiyar.

Peter Percival (24 July 1803 – 11 July 1882[1]) was a British born missionary, linguist and a pioneering educator in Sri Lanka and South India during the British colonial era. His work influenced prominent people such as Robert Bruce Foote a pioneering geologist and archaeologist and Arumuka Navalar, a Hindu revivalist. He began his career in British held Sri Lanka and Bengal as a Wesleyan Methodist missionary. His early work was in the minority Sri Lankan Tamil dominant Jaffna peninsula. He was instrumental in starting and upgrading a number of schools within the Jaffna peninsula. His preference of education over evangelism influenced educational programs off all others who sought to improve the literacy rate in the district. During his stay in Jaffna, he led the effort to translate the Bible into Tamil, based on the Authorised Version.[2] After returning to England, he converted to Anglicanism. Subsequent to his posting in South India, he severed his association with the Anglican Missionary Society that had sent him to India and worked as an educator in Presidency College in Madras Presidency. He published English-Tamil and English-Telugu dictionaries as well as a number of books on Indian culture and religion. He died in 1882 in Yercaud in present-day Tamil Nadu.

Robert Bruce Foote as his son–in–law.

- Wiki

Watercolour on English paper, A Brahmin with his wife, child and cat, Madras, ca. 1785

This is a page from the Boileau Album. The album contains 42 Company paintings probably made by an artist from Thanjavur (Tanjore) living in Madras. Painting in Madras at this early period appears to have been linked mainly to individual patronage. John Peter Boileau commissioned this album. Boileau, whose ancestors were French, served as a member of the Madras Civil Service from 1765 to 1785. He probably had the album made to take back home to England when he retired.

Text and image credit:
Copyright: © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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