Catalog Archive
Auction 156, Lot 661

"Chinese Barges of the Embassy Passing Through a Sluice on the Grand Canal", Nicol, George

Subject: Eastern China

Period: 1796 (dated)

Publication: An Authentic Account of an Embassy from the King … to the Emperor of China

Color: Hand Color

13.9 x 9.5 inches
35.3 x 24.1 cm
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This lovely view appeared in the account of George Macartney's travels to China, published by George Nicol. Macartney was Britain's first envoy to China, and was tasked with convincing Emperor Qianlong to ease restrictions on trade between Great Britain and China by allowing the British to have a permanent embassy in the country. The view depicts barges on the Grand Canal, with plenty of activity on the shore. After a mostly failed diplomatic mission to Jehol (Chengde), Macartney's men traveled along the Grand Canal on their return to the Yangtze delta. Drawn by William Alexander and engraved by Benjamin Thomas Pouncey.


Condition: A+

A fine impression on a sturdy sheet with a "J. Whatman" watermark, attractive color, and wide margins. There are remnants of hinge tape on verso.

Estimate: $200 - $240

Sold for: $75

Closed on 2/17/2016