John Singer Sargent (1856–1925) was the most celebrated portraitist of his time. This portrait, commissioned by the Straits Association, commemorated Sir Frank Swettenham's (1850–1946) long service as Resident-General of the Federated Malay States (1896–1901) and Governor of the Straits Settlements (1901–1904). Swettenham is portrayed as a strong leader exuding power and authority. He is dressed in an immaculate white uniform and seated on a gilded armchair covered in Malay silk brocade. Visible above him, on the left, is the lower half of a globe on a gilt stand, showing a segment of the Malay States.