George Francis Joseph, Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, 1817. Oil on canvas.
Sir Stamford Raffles was an official with the British East India Company stationed in Southeast Asia between 1805 and 1824. He is known for establishing Singapore as a British port, as the author of The History of Java, and as a collector of natural history and cultural materials. Opinions of Raffles have changed over time. He has been viewed as a scholarly expert on the region, a progressive reformer, a committed imperialist, and even a plagiariser.
In keeping with the Asian Civilisations Museum’s mission to explore encounters and connections, this exhibition presents a complex, multilayered picture of Raffles while showcasing the rich artistic and cultural heritage of Java and the Malay world.
The presentation of this exhibition is a collaboration between the British Museum and the Asian Civilisations Museum.