A rare antique aquatint etching of the famous Rafflesia Flower.
This very unique print was published in the Memoir of the Life and Public Services of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, F.R.S. &c. John Murray, London, 1830. The memoir itself is a glowing and detailed biography by Raffles’ second wife, Sophia Hull (1786-1858).
Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, (1781 – 1826) was a British statesman, Lieutenant-Governor of British Java (1811–1815) and Governor-General of Bencoolen (1817–1822), best known for his founding of Modern Singapore. He was heavily involved in the conquest of the Indonesian island of Java from Dutch and French military forces during the Napoleonic Wars and contributed to the expansion of the British Empire. He was also an amateur writer and wrote a book titled The History of Java (1817).
Rafflesia is a genus of parasitic flowering plants in the family Rafflesiaceae. The species have enormous flowers, the buds rising from the ground or directly from the lower stems of their host plants; one species has the largest flowers in the world.
The genus contains approximately 28 species (including four incompletely characterized species as recognized in 1997 by Willem Meijer in the latest monograph on the genus), all found in Southeast Asia, mainly in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. For Western Europe, it was first discovered by the French surgeon and naturalist Louis Deschamps in Java between 1791 and 1794, but his notes and illustrations, seized by the British in 1803, were not available to western science until 1861.
The first British person to see one was Joseph Arnold in 1818, in the Indonesia rainforest in Bengkulu, Sumatra, after a Malay servant working for him discovered a flower and pointed it out to him. It was later named after Stamford Raffles, the leader of the expedition.
Very suitable for framing.