This bird’s-eye view of Guangzhou (Canton) (circa 1770) is an export painting designed with the European merchant in mind. At 110 x 180 cm this is one of two large panoramic rolled views (the other is nearly 900 cm wide) depicting Canton in the King’s Topographical Collection.
The painting displays a melange of European and Chinese styles and depicts Canton in the third quarter of the 18th century. The Old City and walls can be seen on the hill as well as the New City to the left and below. Western factories line the banks of the Pearl River. The inclusion of European boats among the Chinese vessels on the river is incorrect as they were not permitted into the harbour at Canton and were required to moor at Whampoa which was seven miles away.
- Article by:
- Felicity Myrone
- Antiquarianism, Transforming topography
George III's extensive collection of maps and views is known as the King's Topographical Collection or 'K.Top' for short. Felicity Myrone explores the history and extent of this rich collection, encompassing up to 40,000 items.