Operations in the Canton River in April, 1847,

MARTIN Lieut. George M. (1848.)


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Lithographs of the 1st Opium War

under the joint command of Major Gen. D'Aguilar C.B. and Capt. McDougall, of the Royal Navy. First and only edition. Illustrated lithograph title, 1 lithograph map and 9 tinted lithograph plates, each measuring 55x37cm, as well as one extra hand-coloured lithograph plate. Imperial folio. Loose in contemporary cloth leatherbacked boards, occasional light foxing. [iv](dedication, descriptive text and list of plates)pp. London, Henry Graves,

In 1846 relations between the Chinese population and foreigners in Canton were at a low point. Riots broke out when a British merchant (Charles Compton) beat a Chinese fruit-vendor and in the following year attacks on foreigners increased. In April 1847 John Davis, the Chief Superintendant of Trade, mounted a punitive expedition against Canton which destroyed all the principal forts at the Bogue. They were preparing to storm the city when the Chinese Commisioner Keying relented to British demands of free and secure access. "Under these circumstances it became a matter of vital importance to teach the Chinese authorities and people that the British Government could redress its wrongs much more speedily than was imagined; and Sir John Davis found in General D'Aguilar and Captain McDougall two officers quite willing to undertake this service, even with the small amount of force immediately at their command." (descriptive text). Printed by Day & Son, lithographers to the Queen. The plates show the following views:

1. Title, with view of the Bay of Victoria, Hong Kong

2. Sketch of the River Chou Kiang (Canton River map)

3. Forts and Batteries of the Bocca Tigris

4. Taking Posession of the Annanchoy Batteries

5. The Staked Barrier, or second pass of the Canton River, above Whampoa

6. Forts and Batteries of the Staked Barrier of the Canton River

7. French Folly Fort, City of Canton8. British and Foreign Factories at Canton

9. The keep of the French Folly Fort blown up by the Royal Sappers and Miners

10. The British Factory at Canton

11. The Return to Hong-Kong

Together with one extremely rare additional print:

Portraits of the Chiefs at the British Factory in Canton. Large hand-coloured lithograph print, measuring 55.5x38cm. Slight dust-staining and wear, marginal repairs. [London], Day & Son, n.d. [but 1848].   The present exceedingly rare lithograph shows the main actors in the assault: Sir John Davis, Sir Henry Pottinger and Major-General Charles D’Aguilar, who had led forces comprised of the 18th Foot, the Royal Irish, and Sepoys of the 42nd Madras regiment, together with a group of merchants are shown in front of a rocket-launcher and several cannons at a crucial point in Cantonese history. This print was originally intended to be part (no. 12) of the ‘Operations in the Canton River’. However, it was withdrawn at the request of General D’Aguilar. The evidence for this last statement comes from a manuscript A.L.S. written by General D’Aguilar’s sister, Mrs. Rose Lawrence. Here is the relevant extract: “...very beautiful drawings of my brother’s brilliant Expedition to Canton. - they are made by an officer who went out with him, and are, I am told, as faithful as it is possible; they were published by the officers who served under him without my brother’s consent who declined the dedication of them to himself; and who insisted on the last plate, the 12th being withdrawn, because it represented the General in too prominent a situation.” Not in Chater Collection. AMOT: Index to British Military Costume Prints. 227-1. 



Rare. Chater Collection IV, 23-33. Only one copy in OCLC (National Library of Ireland); Harvard University; Cornell University; no copy in BL.

Stock Code: 228024

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