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SS CHANGSHA

Date: c 1890
Dimensions:
Overall: 440 x 550 mm
Medium: Oil, cotton, wooden frame
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Art
Object Name: Painting
Object No: 00045358
Related Place:Chung-hua Min-kuo,

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    Description
    An oil on cotton painting from the Chinese School of the China Navigation Company's steamship SS CHANGSHA.

    The painting is unsigned and in what was known as the China Trade style, which has a significant place in maritime portraiture and history.
    SignificanceSS CHANGSHA was a well known ship of the China Navigation Company fleet operating in the important Australian-Southeast Asian trade from the 1880s to the 1920s. It's cargoes included refrigerated Australian meat from Townsville, from 1900 onwards, and its passengers included Chinese migrants to Australia.
    HistorySS CHANGSHA was built in Scotland in 1886 for the China Navigation Company. It was one of four identical cargo-passenger ships built for the CNC's China-Australia trade. They were well known for their trim build and comfortable accommodation. CHANGSHA operated on a regular run between Japan, Foochow, Hong Kong and Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Townsville, bunkering at Newcastle. In 1900 it began carrying refrigerated cargoes, for which two holds were insulated. The passenger accommodation included steerage class in the 'tweendeck spaces, which was mainly used by Chinese migrants to Australia. In 1912 CHANGSHA was sold to the Australian-Oriental Line and continued the same service. In 1926 it was broken up.

    China Trade paintings are a particular genre of marine portraiture. In Hong Kong, Canton and other Chinese trading ports in the 19th century, Chinese artists learned western style painting and painted portraits of visiting foreign ships, for sale to the shipmasters and others. The paintings were usually unsigned, and are characterised by fineness and accuracy of detail, and translucence of colour, particularly of sea and sky.

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