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This is a wonderfully illustrated and evocative look at the natural history of the Malay Peninsula. Now for the first time, all 477 drawings of the flora and fauna of the Malay Peninsula commissioned by Colonel William Farquhar during his time as British Resident and Commandant of Malacca from 1803 to 1818, are published in one volume. Covering a wide spectrum of species, the evocative paintings were rendered in brilliant watercolour by Chinese artists who employed both Chinese and Western painting techniques. In an era when photography was non-existent, the only means of recording nature and wildlife was through painting. Accompanied by authoritative essays and detailed captions, Natural History Drawings is a fascinating window both into the natural history of the time and the 19th-century British settlement in the Malay Peninsula.
Colonel William Farquhar (1774-1839) was Commandant of Malacca in 1803, where he was able to indulge his passion for natural history. After the handover of Malacca to the Dutch in 1818, he met Stamford Raffles, whom he would assist in the founding of modern Singapore.