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The Lion and Dragon: Britain's first embassy to China

Narrative 21: Engraving in Staunton

Britain's first Embassy to China did not achieve its diplomatic ends. It would take several decades and the regrettable application of force before China allowed a resident Ambassador and freedom to trade in the interior. Nevertheless Lord Macartney's Embassy was an artistic and literary achievement. It also served to educate the European public on contemporary China for the publications it produced were widely read, frequently reprinted and translated into a wide range of languages. Important insights into relations between the two nations, such as the self-sufficient nature of Chinese technology and the vital importance of language in diplomacy and exploration, resulted from this first-hand experience.

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Engraving in Staunton

William Alexander. Engraving in Staunton. 1797.

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