Due to high demand membership is now closed for this season. It will reopen on 1st July 2024. Be sure to renew early.

Eastbourne Ashridge Circle|Founded 1947

Lecture Date: October 2, 2022


Speaker: DENISE HEYWOOD - Illustrated

Scrutiny of a towering figure of British colonial administration who discovered priceless art treasures in the East and founded modern Singapore.

Raffles, whose name is synonymous with a luxury hotel rather than with the greatest Buddhist temple in the world, was an enlightened 19th century colonial administrator of Java, Indonesia. He discovered the 8th century temple of Borobudur, hidden under volcanic ash, in 1814; acquired wondrous artefacts in Java, such as shadow puppets and textiles which are now in the British Museum; and in 1819 founded Singapore, the most important trading port in the East.

Denise’s lecture tells the story of a scholar, statesman and polymath, depicting the temple he discovered in Java and examining the art objects he collected. It also shines a light on Singapore, from its shophouses, orchid gardens and remarkable architectural heritage, revived today as magnificent art galleries and museums, to a glimpse of the hotel immortalised with Raffles’ name.

Denise Heywood is a writer, lecturer and photographer. She worked in Cambodia in the 1990s and has been a scholar of south-eastern Asian art ever since. She has written books on such artistic and cultural themes and been a contributor to many art, literary and travel publications, besides making appearances on television and radio. As a lecturer she has travelled widely and given talks to high-profile art institutions and societies the world over.