Friday, March 23, 2018

Colonial Views of the Pearl River Delta

A water color painting of a Chinese junk on the ocean at sunsetThese stunning water-colors come to you from an unlikely source. The artist, Major General Henry Hugh Clifford, served in the British Army during the 19th-century imperialist campaigns. He was a combatant in the Xhosa Wars and the Crimean War and received the Victoria Cross, Great Britain's highest honor for gallantry in wartime, for his actions during the Battle of Inkerman.

A water color painting of Victoria Harbor in Hong KongWhile in Crimea, Clifford was appointed deputy assistant quartermaster-general; a few years later, in 1857, he was sent to China during the Second Opium War, which resulted in the capture of Guangzhou (Canton) by British forces in January of 1858. He returned to England in 1860 and resumed his upward climb through the ranks.

A water color painting of a street scene in Canton
Clifford, although a highly decorated military man, was apparently also an accomplished artist. During his brief time in China, he found the time to paint more than seventy water-color paintings of Guangzhou, Hong Kong, and the people who lived there during that period. To see more of southern China through the eyes of a British soldier, come to Rauner and ask for Iconography 1609.

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