The Historical & Iconic William Farquhar Collection

The Historical & Iconic William Farquhar Collection - Qua | Distinctive Gifts

In the creation of this collection, we wanted to honour the rich history of Singapore and allow each person who holds our lacquerware to be able to own a small piece of history.

We chose to use the beautiful watercolour drawings commissioned by the iconic figure, William Farquhar. These drawings by unidentified Chinese artists illustrate the floral and fauna of Malacca and Singapore.

Currently, the entire collection of Natural History drawings can be found in the National Museum of Singapore under the “A Voyage of Love and Longing” exhibition.Of the collection of 477 watercolour paintings, we have chosen eight for our William Farquhar Collection.

These are the Blue-winged Pitta, Slow Loris, Black-naped Oriole, Dark-handed Gibbon, Lesser Mousedeer, Magpie Robin, Malaysian Tapir, and Black-capped Kingfisher.

Blue-winged Pitta

This colourful resident of Southeast Asia and Malaysia is an uncommon visitor to Singapore. It is often foraging for earthworms and snails in the leaf litter, but can also be perched on low trees such as the wild mangosteen tree depicted in the drawing.

Slow Loris

This well-loved, large-eyed, solitary primate is now extremely rare in Singapore due to habitat loss and poaching.

Black-naped Oriole

The black-naped oriole is an attractive resident that is common in Singapore today, despite being rare in Farquhar’s time. It has a liquid four-note whistle that is used both when perched and in flight.

Dark-handed Gibbon

Farquhar was known to have kept gibbons, so this drawing might have taken place in his own residence in Melaka. It is an endangered species, as a result of losses of its forest habitat.

Lesser Mousedeer

This delightful little animal is the smallest known hoofed mammal in the world; it is only the size of a large rabbit. It is still possible to spot this animal in the rainforests of Malaysia and Singapore, where it mainly comes out at night.

Magpie Robin

This bird, known for its pretty and melodious song, is a good luck symbol that indicates joy, love and lasting fortune.

Malaysian Tapir

This animal is significant as it was the first animal William Farquhar saw in Malaya. It is currently endangered and faces global extinction due to habitat loss and hunting.

Black-capped Kingfisher

Kingfishers, a symbol of peace, prosperity and love, are often spotted in Singapore freshwater and coastal wetlands.

The William Farquhar collection is suitable for those who are looking for a unique gift that embodies Singapore’s heritage and history. Now made into a series of lacquerware, anyone can enjoy these beautiful collection of Natural History from this part of Asia. 

Shop the collection here