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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Arms Robbery

Typescript list of materials bequeathed to Dartmouth by Corey FordWe were looking through a file on Corey Ford for some photos. Corey Ford, for those who don't know, was a writer, humorist, avid sportsman, local legend, and honorary member of the Class of 1921. The Rugby house is named after him--he was a beloved figure on campus for a couple of generations of Dartmouth students.

While looking for photos, we stumbled on a long list of things he bequeathed to the Dartmouth Museum--a five-page list that captures Ford's range of interests: big game trophies, coins, and lots of artifacts from around the world. In the "Historical" section shown here, there are candle molds, chairs, long-stemmed pipes, paper money, and one entry that caught our attention: "2 small flintlock derringers." That there were guns is no surprise, the worrisome factor was the handwritten note next to the entry that reads,"1 stolen, 1969."

We are guessing it was stolen between the time the materials were bequeathed and their arrival at the museum since this appears to be the work of a registrar, and the document is dated mid-November 1969.