Thursday, 18 July 2013

Frank Swettenham

The Perak XI of 1895
An interesting photograph of a cricket team was
Malaya's champion all-round .... in his day:
The players are: (Left to right)
Back row: J Hughes, ALM Scott
Middle row: AB Stephens, FA Swenttenham CMG, Col RNF Walker CMG,

Capt AL Ingall, AB Noulers
Front row: RM McKenzie, Xavier Marks, FJ Wool and FW Kelly.

Some names maybe incorrect.

This profile looks like Munshi Abdullah
Holding a pole ... for what?
Dark jacket in a climate that is hot and with high humidity?
Was this in the highlands? Fraser's Hill? Cameron Highlands?
Resort? Not Malaya?
With pith hat, indicating a British officer between 1900-1930s
Why the dark shirt?
With hat, indicating a British officer, like a British planter
Looks like going for morning stroll, maybe a Sunday
Swettenham (right) with Sultan Suleiman of Selangor 1936
The Sultan is listening to Frank Swettenham.
Oval portrait, indicates an early era in British Malaya, 1900s
Portrait resembles those of the French kings, possibly same painter, doesn't look like Malaya


Sellene said...

Swettenham was not holding a "pole"; that was part of a bigger photograph which if I recall correctly depicted a shooting party in Kedah during his visit there, perhaps in 1879 or so. Swettenham was in fact holding a gun with the muzzle pointing upwards. I stand to be corrected. Please refer to Wendy Khadidjah Moore's History of Malaysia in Pictures.

The picture of Swettenham in dark jacket was taken in front of JWW Birch's house at Bandar Bahru, Perak in 1874. For details, please refer to Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society Vol. LXII Pt 1 June 1989, "The Bandar Bahru Group Photograph" by FAlconer and Gullick.

I think you might agree if I say that the climate 150 years ago was considerably cooler than what it presently is. The jacket could hve been of a light material such as those used for summer attire. In any case, the British adhered to a strict dress code so the choice of attire should not be surprising or be the subject of derision.

Swettenham was actually 15 years OLDER than the Sultan of Selangor at the time, which made him in his mid 80s when that photograph was taken. Swettenham was already acquainted with his grandfather Abdul Samad when the present Sultan was still in his teens.