John Singer Sargent's Sir Frank Swettenham  (Frontpage)  (What's New)  (Thumbnails)  (Refer This Site)

 Sir Frank Swettenham
John Singer Sargent -- American painter  
National Museum in Singapore 
Oil on canvas 
258 x 142.5 cm (101.57 x 56.10 in)
Jpg: ARC 
Sir Frank Athelstane Swettenham (1850-1946) was the first Resident General of the Federated Malay States (part of the then Royal Colonies, now independent Malaysia) which was formed by combining a number of kingdoms. He served from July 1, 1896 to 1901. The portrait was commissioned by the Straits Association (the then government) to commemorate Sir Frank's service. The painting was presented to the Colony of Singapore. 

Map of Malaysia 

The painting was done in London. For Swettenham's personal collection, John would paint a three-quarter length version which is now at the National Portrait Gallery, London. 

Sir Frank Swettenham (3/4) 
Oil on canvas 
170.8  x 110.5 cm (67 1/4 in. x 43 1/2 in) 
(Thumbnail only) 

In March of 1904, Gertrude Bell writes of meeting Sargent. She had known Sir Frank Swettenham from her trips to Singapore. 

    "I have been making friends, in a modest way, with Sargent whom I like particularly. He is incredibly unspoilt, simple and natural and outgoing. I spent a morning in his studio the other day - he wanted me to see a portrait he was painting. I liked the portrait very much and the painter still more. He had some beautiful water colour sketches of Venice [Venezia] in the Pall Mall gallery this year. The truth is that when he is at his best no one can touch him, and he generally is perfectly aware himself when he is not. He is a great reader of oriental travel books and he loves mountains, now are not those agreeable tastes?" 

    (The Gertrude Bell Archive, letter: Sunday, 20 March 1904 To Florence Spring-Rice nee Lascelles -- Rounton Grange, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, Emgland. ) 


Rounton Grange was the home of Gertrude Bell's parent (1868 - 1926). It was built by Sir Lowthian Bell, Ist Bt, an industrialist and founder of the family fortune.   

By:  Natasha Wallace
Copyright 1998-2002 all rights reversed
Created 10/15/2002