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Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles (1781 - 1826) 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 after the ship bearing Raffles' original collection caught fire. The present drawings are those made to replace the lost ones, together with some earlier drawings made in Penang for William Hunter.
Henry Noltie is a taxonomist at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, who has written two volumes of the Flora of Bhutan, and several books on botanical drawings made for Scottish East India Company surgeons by Indian artists: most recently the trilogy Robert Wight and the Botanical Drawings of Rungiah & Govindoo (2007).
&i;`Through this exquisite collection of natural history drawings in the British Library, Henry Noltie has brought alive the career and tribulations of Sir Stamford Raffles . The work is a literary tour-de-force and the plates are beautifully and faithfully reproduced.'&o;
- Professor David J. Mabberley, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew