Watercolour by Andrew Nicholl (1804-1886) of a view of Colombo in Sri Lanka, dated c. 1850. The image is inscribed on the front in ink: 'A. Nicholl. A.R.H.A.': and on the back in pencil: 'Colombo, Ceylon.' Colombo became the capital of Sri Lanka, taking over from Trincomalee, and when the harbour was built in the 1870s also became the island's main port surpassing both Trincomalee and Galle both of which were natural harbours. T.H.Holdich wrote in the Imperial Gazeteer of India, 'The coast-line of Ceylon is singularly beautiful. Fringed with palm-trees down to the very water's edge, the long line of yellow foreshore is broken at broken at frequent intervals by the picturesque villages of a fishing population, which seems to swarm in every sheltered bay and backwater. On the east and south the coast is low, and the surf beats with long monotonous cadence on the sands..." There are two monsoons a year in Sri Lanka, the Yala season, which affects the south-western part of the island, from May to July and the Maha season which runs from December to January in the north-eastern regions.