The clock tower, Labuan

Place Asia: Malaysia, Labuan
Accession Number ART23248
Collection type Art
Measurement Overall: 32.3 x 40 cm
Object type Drawing
Physical description coloured inks on paper
Maker Friend, Donald
Place made Malaysia: Labuan
Date made 1945
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Depicts the clock tower in Labuan, Borneo. Donald Friend was in Labuan, an archipelago off the coat of Borneo, in June 1945. Of the town of Labuan he wrote in his Diary on 10 June 1945; 'On the starboard, near, lay Labuan. The town was partly in flames from Jap [sic] demolitions...The Labuan landscape is really something: there is not that endless momotony of palms....the town is devastated. The architecture, such as remains of it, is that picturesque orientalised baroque which is found in all colonies of the Dutch and Portuguese seas- plaster over pinkish brick, painted pale green , pink and blue. Arches, latticed windows... I spent all day among the ruins of the town, drawing'. Again in his Diary on 20 June 1945, Friend noted; 'To the town, sketching all morning, with some interesting results. One could spend a couple of months here drawing nothing but the ruins...much of the town has been cleared up- great rubble heaps removed'. Standing almost alone in a sea of canvas tents, bullet-scarred, the Clock tower apparently at one time embellished the facade of a large public building of which now nothing remains standing after the bombardment. The arch doorway of the Clock Tower is surmounted by an illegible inscription celebrating the name of the citizen who built it.