Friday, 3 January 2014

Elephant Catching In Ceylon

As part of my blast from the past series from the old newspapers that I own, I thought that you might be interested in how to capture an elephant in Ceylon. Not a story that we see in the newspapers of today, but the sort of subject matter of abiding interest to our ancestors of even just sixty years ago, let alone those of 150 yrs ago, when much of the world was fearful, heathenish, exotic and mysterious in about equal measures.

Even in 1902, Joseph Conrad was able to describe the Belgium Congo as the 'Heart of Darkness' (a tag that particular state has never lost), but other areas, such as Britain's Indian Empire, which included Ceylon, were seen as more exotic. So The Illustrated London News August 1864 was able to include in a packed edition, a very interesting story from Ceylon on the capturing and taming of wild elephants.

The Illustrated London News - 13th August 1864

The story starts with a detailed background explanation of the capture .....

The Main Story

But then its accompanied by some very rich illustrations .....

The 'Krall' and the Grandstand for the Europeans

The Continuation of the Story ....

... with beautifully drawn pictures

..... of a rather brutal practise.

Photographs may have removed the need for these kind of illustrations but there's no denying that we certainly lost a little bit of beauty when they went.

Please note that for the purposes of the post, I have cleaned the newsprint and images up.  


  1. Thank you for this. I like to get acopy. Also like to get what the paper published on the royal visits between 1876 and 1936 involving elephant capture

    1. Sorry, I only have a few of these original old Newspapers, and they are random in dates. As far as I know, outside of the British, or other large Libraries (which were obliged to keep copies of newspapers for official records), they are the only copies except where collectors have saved them ... For this particular publication there is in fact a website archive but its for institutions only.

      But try these sites:

      Illustrated London News
      Illustrated London News Prints
      Mary Evans Collection

      If you go to these sites, and enter in the dates or search terms you are looking for and you may find what you want.

      Good Luck, and thanks for the comment ...

  2. Thank you. can I use some of the pictures in this and cite the website?

    1. Help yourself my friend .... That goes for any pictures on this site. I only ever object to post scraping, which uses all the blog content disguised as someone else's work.

    2. Thank you So much. I will cite this and the newspaper. Hope you find more on elephants. All the best of luck

  3. The pictures are wonderful. Thanks for posting them up.


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