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

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.

Provenance

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


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