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

9 May - 5 July 2009

Raffles' Ark Redrawn

Rafflesia arnoldii R. Brown
RAFFLESIACEAE
Kerubut; ambun ambun (Raffles); pelinum sekuddi (= Devil's paan box, Jack)

Hand coloured engraving by Messrs Weddell

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1781 - 1826) formed a remarkable collection of drawings and manuscripts during nearly twenty years in Southeast Asia in the service of the East India Company. Raffles' Ark Redrawn presents for the first time 29 natural history drawings of plants, birds and animals natural history drawings of the Raffles Family Collection, recently acquired by the British Library, London. These are accompanied by related herbarium specimens from the Garden's own collection, and skulls of a tapir and a dugong from the National Museums of Scotland.


The drawings by Chinese and French artists, were created in haste after the tragic loss of Raffles' Sumatran natural history, ethnographic and literary collections in a fire on the ship Fame, on which they had been stowed prior to Raffles' return to Britain. The exhibition demonstrates links with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh's long-term connections with Indonesian and Malaysian botany. Its pairing with the work of Cerith Wyn Evans forms part of an ongoing series of exhibitions in which leading contemporary artists are invited to exhibit alongside exhibitions of scientific importance.

The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue "Raffles' Ark Redrawn" by Henry J. Noltie ISBN 9780712350846, softback, 180 pp 216mm x 240mm, available from Inverleith House for the special price of £15 (normally £20).

Exhibition Events

Sunday 24 May, 2 - 3.30pm

The Botanics and Southeast Asia - Art and Nature

Explore Raffles' Ark Redrawn (British Library drawings of plants and animals from Indonesia and Malaysia) with RBGE's Henry Noltie, and then join scientist Axel Poulson in the Glasshouses to discover Southeast Asian plants he has collected on expeditions. Advance booking is essential. Email inverleithhouse@rbge.org.uk or call 0131 2482971 to book your free place (first come first served).

Sunday 21 June, 2 - 3.30pm

The Botanics and Southeast Asia - Art and Nature 

Explore Raffles' Ark Redrawn (British Library drawings of plants and animals from Indonesia and Malaysia) with RBGE's Henry Noltie, and then join scientist Peter Wilkie in the Glasshouses to discover Southeast Asian plants he has collected on expeditions. Advance booking is essential. Email inverleithhouse@rbge.org.uk or call 0131 2482971 to book your free place (first come first served).

Raffles' Ark Redrawn

Tapirus indicus Desmarest
TAPIRIDAE
Cipan, badak murai, tenuk; babi-alu (Bencoolen), gindol and saladang (Sumatra) (Horsfield); Asian tapir

Watercolour and bodycolour over pencil
Probably by J. Briois

Raffles' Ark Redrawn

Cissa chinensis (Boddaert)
CORVIDAE
Gagak hijau; green magpie

Watercolour, bodycolour and pencil
Almost certainly by J. Briois

All works courtesy of The British Library.

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