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The English Factories at Canton

Date: 1847
Overall: 153 x 233 mm, 0.023 kg
Medium: Lithograph on paper.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Lithograph
Object No: 00003063
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    Canton, China is depicted in this black and white lithograph. Canton was a busy centre of merchant activity in the 19th century.
    SignificanceBefore photography, paintings and drawings of Macao, Canton and Hong Kong were the only illustrations of these exotic ports. These works depict unusual landscapes, walled cities and spectacular architecture, which helped to establish the Western vision of China as a land of silk, porcelain and tea.
    HistoryThe Chinese port of Canton, or Guangzhou, emerged as one of the most influential foreign trading ports in the 18th Century. In the 16th and 17th Centuries, Portugese and Dutch traders played a large part in the area, and the French and English also began trading in the late 17th Century. The signing of the Treaty of Nanjing in 1782 at the end of the First Opium War between Britain and China, saw 4 other Chinese ports opened up to international trade. This meant that Canton's monopoly over foreign trade was reduced.

    Lithography, a printing process, began in Germany in the 1790s and then spread to Europe and America. Initially printers used black and white ink, however this changed to coloured ink as the process become more widely used. A nearly insatiable Western market for views of the Pearl River such as this lithograph was fuelled by the entrepreneurs who conducted business there, as well as their business partners and families, many of whom had never travelled to China but heard marvellous tales about the land and its culture.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: The English Factories at Canton


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