The Royal Asiatic Society (RAS) was the first learned Society dedicated to the study of Asia to be set up in the United Kingdom, receiving its Royal Charter in 1824. It soon acquired one of the most important collections of books, manuscripts, paintings and drawings on Asia in the country. Most of the collection, including the oil paintings, came as a result of generous donations from fellows in the nineteenth century who had served in Asia, particularly India. The RAS no longer has a significant acquisitions budget so the strength of the collections is primarily in its history. Today academics consult its manuscripts, paintings, drawings and photographs for their research and items often appear in exhibitions or as illustrations in a variety of publications. Most famous of the oil paintings is the portrait of the Peshwa of Poona with his ministers, 'Madhu Rao Narayan, the Maratha Peshwa with Nana Fadnavis and Attendants', by James Wales (c.1747–1795). Also significant is the double portrait of the Parsi Master Shipbuilders in Bombay, Jamsetjee Bomanjee and his son Nourojee Jamsetjee.
Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland
14 Stephenson Way, London, Greater London NW1 2HD England
0207 388 4539http://www.royalasiaticsociety.org
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