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Pair of aquatints of China by W. Alexander, c.1805

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Pair of aquatints of China by W. Alexander, c.1805 English  China Alexander %%alt5%% %%alt6%%
This is a framed pair of original engravings hand-coloured at publication by William Alexander (1767-1816) from 'The Costume of China', published by W Miller, London 1805. Two other pairs of engravings from the same series are separately listed.

In 1792 William Alexander accompanied Lord Macartney’s embassy to China as a junior draughtsman. Though the embassy was a diplomatic failure the images of China that Alexander produced on the two-year journey were a new, reliable and exciting glimpse into Chinese life, art, landscape, architecture and customs. Like no artist before, Alexander shaped the West’s image of this far away country.

Alexander made over two thousand sketches of China during the journey some of which were reproduced as prints in his own publications, of which the most impressive is 'The Costume of China' containing a series of 48 aquatints etched by Alexander himself.

The first plate depicts a sea-faring Chinese trading ship on each bow is painted an eye, with the pupil turned forwards. Such vessels ventured as far as Manila, Japan, and Batavia, with many of them being from eight hundred to a thousand tons burthen. Their century-old design was not changed after ships of various European nations started to arrive in Canton during the 18th century.

The second plate depicts two Chinese junks before departure on August 5, 1793, for the Pay-ho, or White River in the Gulf of Pe-tchi-li. They carry the staff of the British Embassy, presents for the Chinese Emperor, and the Embassy's luggage. Alexander described them as clumsily constructed they held about two hundred tons each being flat-bottomed, they draw but little water, and were able to cross the shallows at the entrances of the Chinese rivers.

Dimensions: Width 49 x Height 43.5 cm

Condition: The engravings are in good antique condition with some overall discolouration. The frames date from circa 1980s when they were retailed by an antique print shop on Museum Street, London, and are in good condition with some minor marks touched-up, but the original mounts have been discarded in favour of green coloured acid free mounts.

Postage & packing: £15 within the UK.
Price
£175.00  UK
$222.46  USA
207.46  EU
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Date 1805  Early 19th Century Antiques Material Paper Origin English Item code as1016a448 Status For Sale

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Torr Antiques & Decorative ArtsPrivate dealer
By appointment only
Lamberhurst
Kent, England

Tel : 07931 370 372

Non UK callers : +44 7931 370 372
 
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Pair of aquatints of China by W. Alexander, c.1805
 
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