Speaker: Denise Heywood
7 September 2016

Jim Thompson arrived in Bangkok as a US army officer in 1945, fell in love with it and stayed. Captivated by the lustrous beauty of Thai silk, he resuscitated an ancient craft in decline, created costumes for films and embellished his historic house, now a museum. An aesthete and art collector, he created an exquisite home from six hand-carved teakwood houses brought from the countryside and filled it with Asian art. Here he became a celebrated society host. This lecture describes his achievements, showing the intricacy of silk production and its artistic heritage, including royal robes and dance costumes. It touches on films such as The King and I, reveals his house and its art, and reflects on a life that ended with his mysterious disappearance.

Denise Heywood is an author, lecturer, photographer and journalist. She worked in Cambodia as a journalist for three years and has also lived in France and America. Now based in London, she has lectured all over Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, South Africa and Europe at universities, colleges, schools, art institutions and travel organisations including the Royal Geographical Society, The British Museum, and The National Trust. She writes for many art, literary and travel publications, has appeared on television and radio, led art tours to Southeast Asia and France and lectured on cruise ships sailing throughout Asia.