The Royal Asiatic Society has recently been a beneficiary from the estate of Mrs Dorothy Wales, widow of H. G. Quaritch Wales, the erudite scholar of early Southeast Asian history who died in 1981. The occasion of this bequest, the contents of which are discussed in the Librarian's report herein (pp. 169–70), prompts this note on the contribution of Quaritch Wales to Southeast Asian studies.
Quaritch Wales was born in 1900 and educated at Charterhouse and Queens' College, Cambridge. He immediately embarked on a career in Southeast Asia, from which he was never to be deflected. At the age of 23 he entered the service of the Siamese Government where he served from 1924 to 1928 as an adviser to the courts of King Rama VI and King Rama VII. The first-hand knowledge gained from this experience formed the basis of his pioneering study Siamese State Ceremonies (1931), which remains a work of unrivalled insight into the Brahmanical rituals and Buddhist accretions of Thai kingship. He followed this with another work based on his experiences of Thai court and state functions, Ancient Siamese Government and Administration (1934).
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