Raffles, whose name is synonymous with a luxury hotel rather than the greatest Buddhist temple in the world, was the enlightened colonal administrator of Java, Indonesia. He discovered the 8th century temple of Borobudur, hidden under volcanic ash, in 1804, acquired wondrous artefacts in Java, 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 in Java and its radiant carvings, and shows the architectural heritage of Singapore, inspired by his vision, and its revival today as innovative art galleries and museums


Denise Heywood

BoArt historian, author, lecturer, photographer and journalist. Worked in Cambodia in the 1990s and has been a scholar of Southeast Asian art ever since. 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.