Col. Munroe understood the need for establishing a printing press at the CMS College. He understood the efforts taken up by missionaries including Benjamin Bailey. In 1821 the first printing press came from England to the college. With the consignment there were English types and several books. Bailey was involved in translating many English texts into Malayalam including the Bible. However there were no Malayalam types available. Finally Bailey took initiative in making Malayalam fonts/types in Kottayam itself. His Highness Swathi Thirunal Maharaja came to see Bailey’s printing press in 1836. The King also wanted a government press to be established in Trivandrum.

In this relief panel artist Ajitha Prabhakar illustrates that particular historical moment when His Highness Swathi Thirunal Maharaja visited Kottyam to see Bailey’s printing press and its functioning. The king looks impressed and he seems to be looking at the respected courtiers as he conveys his feelings to Bailey. The reverse writing on the wall shows that the work of a dictionary is in progress. The moment also could mark the maharaja’s bestowal of a financial reward to Bailey for pursuing the lexicon works. Though the depiction is minimal the artist has followed the conventional portraits of both the King and Bailey for modelling.

Published On: January 27th, 2024Categories: Relief Sculpture

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