Unknown artist, c. 1890
This small watercolour painting is of the Tongan King Siaosi (or George) Tupou II (1874 –1918). Siaosi was King of Tonga from 1893 until his death from Spanish flu in 1918. The King was a Methodist; traditionally, Methodism has been strong in Tonga, with most of the islands converting in the 1800s.
King Siaosi Tupou II's reign was not the most successful, and his administration was mired by corruption charges. One of the King's greatest and longest-lasting achievements was the introduction of cement water tanks all over Tonga, which provided clean water to his people and improved public health.