Collection of drawings and watercolours from the Raffles Family Collection by Chinese

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1781-1826) was a famous colonial administrator and founder of Singapore (1819).


Watercolour on paper Dimensions: Various dimensions
Art Fund grant:
£114,814 ( Total: £386,392; Tax remission)
Acquired in:
Michael Stewart

He was a passionate student of natural history and amassed a great collection of specimens and drawings. Most of these drawings and watercolours were commissioned while Raffles was Governor of Bencoolen (Bengkulu) in Sumatra, to replace an earlier collection lost in a fire at sea in 1824. The natural history subjects make up about three-quarters of the collection and are by anonymous Chinese (and possibly Malay) artists; the miscellaneous drawings include work by British, Dutch, and Asian artists.

Artists include


Commissioned by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1824); by descent in the Raffles family to Michael Stewart; India Office Library (on loan since 1969).

Venue details

British Library 96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB 020 7412 7332

Entry details

Free entry to all
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Mon – Wed, Thu – Fri, 9.30am – 6pm
Tue, 9.30am – 8pm
Sat, 9.30am – 5pm
Sun and Public Holidays, 11am – 5pm
Closed 24 – 26 Dec

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