This painting offers a commanding image of a ship, with sea and sky highlighted with excellent coloration and atmosphere and all of the fine detail work a collector could expect in a portrait of the China Trade. The ship appears off Lintin Island, an important stop on the way to the port of Canton, today known as Guangzhou. In the early 19th century Lintin was the outer anchorage for western ships which would have to stop at the island for inspection and to pay customs duties. After the outlaw of opium importation into China in 1821 the island became known for harboring smugglers, though a fair amount of legal cargo also went through the port. Note the colorful Chinese vessel off the bow as well as the island's outline.
Chinese export ship portraits, such as this example, were directly commissioned from local Chinese artists usually by the ship's owners or captains. A high demand for accuracy in a ship's details in these commissions means that surviving examples are considered one of the most accurate records extant of how vessels in the China Trade appeared.
In a period birdseye maple frame.
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