One half of a very special pair of Chinese oil paintings in ornately carved original frames, this view of Canton complements a Whampoa scene, owned since they were painted and brought home, circa 1855, by Captain Edwin Chase and his family. Chase captained the Clipper MARY GLOVER from 1853-1859, then the Clipper WILD RANGER, and was the master of BLACK PRINCE until it was lost at sea returning to Boston from the Orient in 1865. Collectors worldwide desire artworks showing the early Western presence in the Orient, and paintings of the important Chinese harbors with Western merchants are top prizes.
Showing American, British, French and Danish flags over their respective factory houses, the Pearl River traffic bustles with Chinese vessels of great variety beneath the shore of Canton city's edge. Foreign merchants and captains had to anchor off Whampoa, down the river, and travel by junk, sampan or other transport operated by the local mariners. Several large junks wait at anchor. In rare cases, Western ships would be allowed to travel to Canton, the case here being a sleek black British sidewheel steamer on approach, holding the interested watch of the local mariners.
This oil of vivid coloration represents the an era at the height of the international tea trade, record-setting voyages and market races by the clipper ships. The shoreline shows a healthy distribution of foliage between the buildings and the river, mostly planted in the 1840s by an American funding company. A second great Canton fire in 1856 destroyed most of this area, including the church near the end of Hog's Road, built in 1847.
Provenance: Captain Edwin Chase of Boston, by descent through his family until 2011.
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