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Henry William Parish, active 1792

An Album of Sketches on the Voyage from England to China with Lord Macartney's Embassy

Former Title(s):

An Album of sixteen Marine Views of Islands and Ports on the Voyage from England to China: Madiera South East Extremity

Materials & Techniques:
Watercolor, graphite, pen and brown and black ink on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper
Cover: 4 1/8 × 10 13/16 inches (10.5 × 27.5 cm)

Inscribed in pen and black ink, front cover of album: "Sketches | by Captain Parish on the | Voyage from England to China | in 1793-4 | with Lord Macartney's Embafsy."

Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
Drawings & Watercolors
Prints and Drawings
Subject Terms:
landscape | marine art
Associated Places:
Brazil | Canary Islands | Cape Verde | Castelo Branco | Indonesia | Madeira | Malta | Niterói | Portugal | Praia | Rio de Janeiro | Saint Helena | Santa Cruz de Tenerife | Santiago | Sotavento | Spain | Sudeste | Sunda Strait | Tristan da Cunha
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This album contains sixteen views from the outward voyage of George Macartney’s diplomatic mission to China, an attempt to persuade the Chinese imperial court to broaden its trade policies with Britain. The naval ship Lion and an East India Company vessel, the Hindostan, departed Portsmouth in September 1792, intending to sail around the Cape of Good Hope and eastward into the Indian Ocean. Trade winds forced them to cross the Atlantic to South America, and they remained for several weeks in Rio de Janeiro, where Henry William Parish made this view. Recrossing the Atlantic, they arrived at Macau in June 1793. Parish was a lieutenant in the Royal Artillery and a trained draftsman. His sketch of Rio, then the heavily fortified Portuguese colonial capital and entrepôt for sugar, gold, and gems, combines the kind of coastal profile the Royal Navy relied upon for navigation and a military interest in the embrasures (openings for gun placements) of the port’s defenses. Macartney’s embassy attempted to create interest in British manufactured products to offset the trade deficit caused by British demand for Chinese goods, particularly tea and silk. While the mission famously failed in these aims, the visual and textual descriptions of the expedition brought back new knowledge of Chinese people and customs.

Gallery label for Spreading Canvas - Eighteenth-Century British Marine Painting (Yale Center for British Art, 2016-09-09 - 2016-12-04)

Spreading Canvas - Eighteenth - Century British Marine Painting (Yale Center for British Art, 2016-09-09 - 2016-12-04) [YCBA Objects in the Exhibition] [Exhibition Description]

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