“Qui hi, or Kooee Hye, is the Bengalee [rather, Hindustani] phrase meaning Who’s there. As no bells are used in the houses of the gentry in India, the servants sit at the doors of the dining or drawing room, or study, and are called ... by the phrase Qui hi, to which they instantly reply by appearing. Hence all the English in Bengal are called by the Europeans of other parts of India Qui his.” — Joachim Stocqueler, Familiar History of British India (1859).
The author, William Combe (1741-1823), assumed the pen name of “Quiz” while writing this book. Combe was educated at Eton and studied law in London. He was a writer of prose and satirical verse. His poem The Tour of Dr. Syntax in Search of the Picturesque (1812), illustrated by Thomas Rowlandson, was one of the most popular books of early 19th-century England. Combe led a checkered nature, prosperous and pauperized by turns.
The illustrator, Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827), also educated at Eton, went on to study at the Royal Academy. He was one of the best known book illustrators and caricaturists of his time. He illustrated the work of authors such as Henry Fielding, Tobias Smollett, Oliver Goldsmith and Laurence Sterne. He was a very productive artist and is also known for “scandalous” erotic prints. As H. A. Dobson remarked, “ as the pictorial chronicler of the hard-hitting, hard-riding, hard-drinking age in which he lived, he can never be neglected...”.
Studio Orientalia’s edition of QUI HI is based on a complete copy of the first edition of 1816— including the rare cancel leaf C8. Scanned with the latest rare book scanner technology in Berlin, and color corrected and printed in New Delhi, this reproduction is a quality product.