Siam Renaissance Publishing Company Limited is a leading history publisher established in 2010 AD, dedicated to preserving, supporting, and promoting the arts, culture, and history of Siam. Print publications cover a range of topics, including rare historical artifacts and priceless collectibles. The publications have garnered the interests of Thais and foreigners alike, including expert collectors.
The publisher’s first book titled Siam Days of Glory: 19th Century Photographs of Thailand was a memoir of the reign of King Chulalongkorn, also referred to as King Rama V. The publication commemorates the 100th anniversary of King Rama V’s passing, featuring a rare collection of more than 190 privately owned and original images of Siam in the 19th century. Photographs of the royal family, historical locations, national treasures, and the nostalgic way of life of the Siamese earned the book the 2011 Outstanding Book Competition’s “Outstanding Book of the Year” award from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
Later in the year of 2011, Siam Renaissance Publishing Company Limited published Ayudhya: A Pictorial Odyssey 1907-1920 to mark the 20th anniversary of the former Siamese capital’s status as a World Heritage property. The book features a collection of rare photographs of Ayudhya from 1907 until 1920. The photos were captured towards the end of the reign of King Rama V through to the early portion of the reign of King Rama VI. This publication was bestowed the “Honorable Mention” award from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn as part of the 2012 Outstanding Book Competition 2012
In 2013, Siam Renaissance obtained the translation rights from The Palace of Fontainebleau to publish Le Siam A Fontainebleau: L'Ambassade Du 27 Juin 1861 in Thai. The original version was published by RMN-Grand Palais, Paris in French, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the visit made by the emissary party sent by King Rama IV to the royal court of Emperor Napoleon III of France. The contents of the book reflect the perspectives of the French during the Imperial era, a time of French colonial expansionism, as they witnessed the exotic sight of visitors from a faraway land with great curiosity. The book features never-before published photos of ornate sacred gifts from the King of Siam to the French Emperor, as well as photos of the visiting Thai diplomats. The Thai version, whose Thai title translates as "ราชอาณาจักรสยาม ณ พระราชวังฟงแตนโบล : คณะราชทูตสยาม ๒๗ มิถุนายน ค.ศ. ๑๘๖๑”, was published in 2013.
The publisher’s latest publication, titled 19th Century Royal and Noble Cyphers and Monograms of Siam from the Collection of Chao Chom Liam, features 423 nobel cyphers and monograms that were collected by King Rama V’s royal consort Chao Chom Liam. The collection, privately owned by former Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the Thai monarchy Pavas Bunnag, was granted approval for publication by his wife Khunying Sermsri Bunnag. The original collection is printed in its entirety. The cyphers and monograms are carefully categorized and accompanied by explanations detailing their origins, history, and the royals they represent. The book also includes 11 photos, some taken by King Rama V, as well as a history of Chao Chom Liam and her artwork. As the book captures an invaluable portion of history and reflects the style and social transformation of an important time of change in the Kingdom of Siam, it received Honourable Mention for the ‘Aesthetic Books’ category in the Office of the Basic Education Commission’s 2017 Outstanding Book Competition.
Siam Renaissance Publishing Company Limited’s continuous efforts in the promotion of arts, culture, and history have led to the establishment of Siam Renaissance Asset Company Limited. Drawing on Siam Renaissance’s expertise, the latter firm has expanded the study of history and art through the creation of a learning center known as Villa Musée. Described as a “living museum”, Villa Musée is a compilation of ancient colonial houses constructed during the Victorian Era in Siam. Each brought from various parts of the kingdom, these structures have been transplanted to the lush green landscapes of Khao Yai. Historically valuable objects such as books, antiques, and furniture can be found inside the houses, giving visitors a glimpse into the lives of the Siamese during the reign of King Rama IV and King Rama V.
Villa Musée also hosts special exhibitions, such as one of Siamese court photographer Robert Lenz. The exhibition, titled “ 19th Century Photographs of Siam by Robert Lenz,” displays photographs of the royal family, dignitaries, culture, traditions, and the daily lives of the Siamese during the reign of King Rama V. The exhibition is curated from the private collection belonging to Villa Musée owner Athada Khoman. The photos were acquired from abroad and have been enlarged using ‘fine art’ techniques to showcase even the smallest of details.
Villa Musée is also home to the Prasenchit Mansion, a colonial teak wood house built during the reign of King Rama V. The mansion, previously found in ruins in Bangkok, has been restored to its previous glory. Its dedicated restoration garnered an “The Architectural Conservation Award 2015” award from The Association of Siamese Architects Under Royal Patronage (ASA). Household furnishings, photographs of the royal family, lithographs of King Rama V, pictures of significant events from original copies of the French newspaper “Le Petit Journal”, and other historically dated objects and documents from the eras of the 4th and 5th reigns of the Chakri dynasty are displayed within the mansion. The sound of contemporary classical music and surrounding ambience of shady protection from the clusters of trees coupled with an array of fragrant flowers, lovely ponds of lotus flowers arching towards the sky to welcome the sunlight and myriad kinds of fish swimming to and fro, as well as the relaxing sounds of a waterfall nearby, bring the bygone days of Siam back to life.
Villa Musée is a compilation of colonial and traditional Thai houses which have been bought from various regions of Thailand and painstakingly restored to their original sumptuous beauty.