National Museum show marks Singapore's early leaders

Portraits of Wong Ah Fook (left) and Temenggong Abu Bakar (right) join those of the region's colonial- period leaders now on display at the National Museum.
Portraits of Wong Ah Fook (left) and Temenggong Abu Bakar (right) join those of the region's colonial- period leaders now on display at the National Museum.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

A dramatic 3m tall portrait of Sir John Anderson, governor of the Straits Settlements in the early 1900s, is on display for the first time since 1959 when it was put on show at the Victoria Memorial Hall.

The portrait, with vivid pops of blue and red, is one of seven on display at the National Museum.

The other portraits feature three other colonial leaders, including Sir Shenton Thomas, who was governor of the Straits Settlements from 1934 to 1946.

There are also portraits of prominent figures such as Temenggong Abu Bakar, as well as Straits-born Chinese Sir Song Ong Siang who led the formation of the Straits Chinese Magazine and Singapore Chinese Girls' School.

They are located in the Singapore History Gallery and the Modern Colony Gallery. Sir Anderson, after whom Anderson Bridgeis named, was known for his municipal policy and for placing Tanjong Pagar Docks under public ownership.

The Sir John Anderson portrait replaces the portrait of Sir Frank Swettenham, another governor of the Straits Settlements.

The Sir Frank Swettenham portrait is on loan to the National Gallery for its upcoming Artist And Empire exhibition.

Melody Zaccheus

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2016, with the headline 'National Museum show marks Singapore's early leaders'. Print Edition | Subscribe