The French naturalists and their wildlife forays, 1819

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The National Library publishes “Stamford Raffles And The Two French Naturalists” in its Volume 16 Issue 2 of BiblioAsia, a quarterly journal promoting the collections and programs of the National Library.

Adapted from Danièle Weiler’s chapter on Diard and Duvaucel in Voyageurs, Explorateurs Et Scientifiques: The French and Natural History in Singapore (2019), the article explores the work of Pierre-Médard Diard and Alfred Duvaucel, two French naturalists who worked with Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles between 1818 and 1820.

It uncovers the backgrounds of the two men and their meeting, voyages and relationship with Raffles. From their journeys with Raffles and after, Diard and Duvaucel managed to amass a collection of some 2,000 items that they sent back to the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, some of which are on display at the institution today.

The full article can be found here: Download PDF

This article was also released in conjuncture with several other initiatives to commemorate the 200 years since Pierre-Médard Diard and Alfred Duvaucel arrived in Singapore in May 1819 and conducted what may be considered the first collecting expedition on the island.

Launch of the e-Book Voyageurs, Explorateurs et Scientifiques: The French and Natural History in Singapore

This free e-book is a full digital version of the printed book published by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, in collaboration with the Muséum National d’Historie Naturelle in Paris, France, as part of Voilah! France Singapore Festival 2019. It displays a multitude of stories and records of Diard and Duvaucel’s ventures with Raffles and uncovers the deeply enriched relations between France and Singapore.

The full e-book can be found at: Download PDF

An Old New World

From the East Indies to the founding of Singapore, 1600s – 1819

From 21 September 2019 to 29 March 2020, the National Museum featured a bicentennial-themed exhibition, “An Old New World”, featuring over 200 artefacts from the 200 years leading to the establishment of Singapore in 1819. In particular, the exhibition included the first international display of valuable drawings and manuscripts by Diard and Duvaucel.

Revisiting Diard and Duvucel

Video-mapping by French artist Julien Nonnon

Julien Nonnon, a French artist and founding member of Le3 creative studio, inspired by drawings of Singapore fauna made by Diard and Duvaucel, created ephemeral digital frescoes which were featured on buildings and facades on Armenian Street in November 2019 as part of Voilah! France Singapore Festival.