Raffles' Ark Redrawn: Natural History Drawings from the Collection of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles

Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles (1781-1826) is best known today as the founder of Singapore, but he was also a passionate scholar of all aspects of the Malay world who formed a superb collection of drawings and manuscripts during nearly twenty years in Southeast Asia in the service of the East India Company. Raffles' Ark Redrawn is a fully illustrated catalogue of the 120 natural history drawings of the Raffles Family Collection , acquired by the British Library in 2007. The story of these colourful drawings of plants, birds and mammals, by Chinese and French artists, is a dramatic one, as the majority were made for Raffles on Sumatra in a mere ten weeks in early 1824. Immediately prior to this Raffles and his wife had set sail for Britain on the Fame, after six years in Sumatra (during which he founded Singapore), laden with 2-3000 similar drawings, priceless Malay manuscripts, animal specimens and living animals including a tiger specially tamed for the voyage - a 'veritable Noah's Ark'. The ship caught fire with the loss of all the collections, and the present drawings are those made to replace the lost ones, together with some earlier drawings made in Penang for William Hunter.