attributed to George Francis Joseph, Sir Stamford Raffles

Photo courtesy of Dave Penman (All rights reserved)


Country House
Sir Stamford Raffles
c. 1817
Medium and support
Oil on canvas
Overall height: 74 cm, Overall width: 62 cm
attributed to George Francis Joseph (1764-1846)
Catalogue Number


Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1781–1826) was a colonial governor and founder of Singapore. He was the brother of Mary Ann Raffles, who married Captain William Flint. Their son the Reverend Charles Raffles Flint married Jenny Rosdew Mudge, and their child, the Reverend Stamford Raffles Flint (1847–1925), was the father of Alison Johnstone (TN12).

As well as being a colonial governor, a linguist and historian, Raffles had a passion for natural history. In 1817 he became a fellow of the Royal Society and in 1825 he founded the Zoological Society of London and was elected its first president in April 1826. Mired in debt, he died of apoplexy a few months later.

The present portrait is attributed here on stylistic grounds to George Francis Joseph, who painted a similar three-quarter-length portrait of Raffles in 1817 (fig. 1). Joseph was a prolific painter of portraits, notably of the Prime Minister Spencer Percival, whose portrait he painted from a death mask by Joseph Nollekens, following his assassination in 1812. Elected an associate Royal Academician in 1813, Joseph continued to exhibit at the Royal Academy until the year of his death. Another portrait of Raffles, by James Lonsdale, hangs in the council room at the London Zoological Society.

1817. Oil on canvas, 139.7 × 109.2 cm. National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG 84).

Figure 1.
George Francis Joseph, Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles, 1817. Oil on canvas, 139.7 × 109.2 cm. National Portrait Gallery, London (NPG 84).

Digital image courtesy of National Portrait Gallery, London. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

In the inventory of March 1928 the portrait was recorded as hanging in the Staircase Hall.

by Emily Burns

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