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Sir Stamford Raffles Denise Heywood Monday 14 October 2019

Raffles, whose name is synonymous with a luxury hotel rather than the greatest Buddhist temple in the world, Borobudur, was the enlightened colonial administrator of Java, Indonesia. In 1814 he discovered the 8thcentury temple, hidden under volcanic ash, acquired wondrous artefacts such as shadow puppets and textiles, now in the British Museum, and founded Singapore, the most important trading port in the East.  

This lecture tells the story of Raffles, a scholar and polymath, looks at the art objects he collected, reveals the mystical temple and its radiant carvings, and shows the cultural and architectural heritage of Singapore, inspired by his vision, and its revival today as innovative art galleries and museums.


Denise Heywood is an art historian, author, lecturer, photographer and journalist. Worked in Cambodia in the 1990s and has been a scholar of Southeast Asian art ever since. Her books include one on the Buddhist temples of Laos, Ancient Luang Prabang and Laos, also in French, and Cambodian Dance Celebration of the Gods, with a foreword by the daughter of King Sihanouk. Lectures for the Art Fund, the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) on their post graduate Asian Art Course and for Madingley Hall (University of Cambridge); also for organisations such as the British Museum, the Royal Society for Asian Affairs, Asia House, the National Trust, the Royal Geographical Society and has lectured worldwide for universities, museums, colleges, art institutions, literary societies and travel organisations. She writes for many art, literary and travel publications and has appeared on television and radio. She has led cultural tours to Southeast Asia and France for the Royal Academy, the Art Fund, Asia House and many more and lectures on cruise ships. A member of the Association of Southeast Asian Studies in the UK, Asia House and the Royal Geographical Society.