Title: Captain Robert Knox of the East India Company (1642-1720).
Description: Knox was the son of Robert Knox, a sea-captain in the service of the East India Company. In 1659 Robert senior was returning home from his post with the Company at Fort St George (Madras), accompanied by his son, when a storm forced their ship, the 'Ann', into Cottier Bay, Ceylon. They were taken prisoner with the rest of the crew by the Sultan of Ceylon and Knox senior died of malaria in captivity. After twenty years, during which he survived by knitting caps, hawking goods and lending rice and corn, young Robert escaped with one companion in 1679 and reached Arippu, a Dutch settlement on the north-west coast of the island. The following year he joined the East India Company and in turn served as a sea-captain until he was dismissed the service in 1694. In revenge he took command of an interloping trading vessel, the 'Mary', and he died a wealthy bachelor in London. In 1681 Knox also wrote an account of his experiences, 'An Historical Relation of the Island Ceylon, in the East-Indies', accompanied by engravings showing the inhabitants, their customs and agricultural techniques.
Creator: P. Trampon
Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London