The clipper ship Bengal was built in Liverpool in 1868. At 1838 gross tons, she was a fast and able vessel and is known to have sailed under several different house flags over the years. Her background includes service in both the tea trade and the lucrative smuggling of opium.
Lai Fong is one of the few Chinese port painters to be identified. This work has been attributed to this artist based on it's style of presentation and the familiar detail of the vessel.
Over time, and especially in the last decade, the value of these "China Trade" paintings have shown a very strong and consistent response in the marine art market. There are several factors contributing to the success of these important paintings. The first is the fine esthetic qualities that the works possess, a traditional portrait style colored with the romance of the era. Another consideration reflects the consistent attention that these paintings have garnered with international collectors both of both marine and oriental genres.
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