Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich

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Shipping in the Pearl River off Canton

Fine art

Object connections:

Collection Fine art, Oil paintings, Maritime Art Greenwich
ExhibitionsTraders: The East India Company and Asia
User collections Tea: breaking into the tea trade by NMMExhibitions
Gallery locationTraders Gallery (Floor plans)

Object details:

Object ID BHC1785
Description This painting relates to the British presence in China. In 1842 the Opium War between Britain and China ended with the signing of the Treaty of Nanking. This effectively opened up the five main Chinese ports of Canton, Amoy, Ningpo, Shanghai and Foochow to European traders, who needed considerable naval protection from the persistent depredations of Chinese pirates. This is a view across the Pearl River at Canton in southern China towards the European 'factories' or trading posts, which the European merchants were not allowed to leave. Canton was the centre of China's tea trade with Europe and by 1794 Britain was buying four million kilograms of tea each year, in a trade strictly controlled by China. The French and American factories identified by their flags are visible on the right, as well as the Dutch and French folly forts. A variety of shipping is at anchor and the scene is still and calm. A mountain is shown on the right. A serene stillness pervades the scene of this highly stylized painting fusing western topographical methods with Chinese influences. This is one of a pair showing scenes on the Yang Tse Kiang, see also BHC1786.
Date made circa 1841-46

Artist/Maker Chinese School, 19th century
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Painting: 890 mm x 2055 mm; Frame: 990 x 2120 x 90 mm
  • Shipping in the Pearl River off Canton (BHC1785)
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