A VIEW OF HONG KONG FROM THE HARBOR QING DYNASTY, 1860S | 清 1860年代 香港維多利亞港遠眺 油彩 裝框
A VIEW OF HONG KONG FROM THE HARBOR
QING DYNASTY, 1860S
清 1860年代 香港維多利亞港遠眺 油彩 裝框
oil on canvas, depicting the view from Kowloon across the Victoria harbor, with a clipper ship flying an American flag among other ships and vessels, the foreground inscribed with HONG KONG in white, with a Chinese brown painted and gilt wood frame
Height 17⅜ in., 44.2 cm; width 30¼ in., 77 cm
The painting presents well. The painting has been lined. With stretcher marks faintly visible parallel to the edges. Scattered stable craquelure and pigment separation. With scattered inpainting to address previous craquelure. With three horizontal repairs on the right side on the hill and the sky, the longest being approx. 19 cm. At upper left, with two small areas of finely applied retouches, and also with a few small dots of retouching in the sky.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Margaret Riordan, Stoninington, Connecticut, September 14, 1998
Hong Kong has always been a fishing and farming village in the south of China, however it was ceded by the Qing government to the British Empire following the end of the First Opium War under the Treaty of Nanking in 1843. Since then, the rapid development of Hong Kong was documented in many China trade paintings. The present example depicts Hong Kong around the 1860s, some twenty years after the British took over the free port. As documented in detail in Carl L. Crossman, The Decorative Arts of The China Trade, Suffolk, 1991, pp. 416-417, one of the most recognizable landmarks in various views of Hong Kong is St. John's Cathedral. It was built in 1849 and depicted in the middle towards the left of this picture. Another important reference point, the Government House, depicted up the hill to the right of St. John's Cathedral and flying a flag, was built in 1855. Additionally, the signal tower at the top of Victoria Peak was erected in 1861. However, the current example does not depict the famous Pedder Street clock tower, which was completed in 1862, therefore this picture was most likely painted in 1861. A related example is illustrated in Patrick Conner, Paintings of the China Trade: The Sze Yuan Tang Collection of Historic Paintings, Hong Kong, 2013, p. 64, cat. no. 51, where the author discusses the cast-iron frontage on the waterfront to the right, belonging to Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. The author further notes that the covered hulk depicted in the middle of the painting is probably The Princess Charlotte. Both the cast-iron frontage and the covered hulk can be seen in the present example. A similar oil on canvas view of Hong Kong was sold in these rooms, January 17th, 2019, lot 129, and was previously in the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon.