This is an exceptional one-of-a-kind watercolor or gouache drawing completed in Canton School in China circa 1830. The watercolors are after members of the Chinese court, various occupations, landscape views, Chinese junks and botanical and ornithological subjects. Each is on woven, J. Whatman watermarked paper (marked 1829). One of the watercolors from the collection featured an inscription by G. Jackson with the date 1836.
This is considered a pre-Opium War Chinese export watercolors of the highest quality. In the late 1700s, there was a thriving trade of watercolors by Chinese artists sold to the western merchants and travellers. The watercolor featured here is from an album of very high quality illustrations. It featured vivid coloring and the use of gold on exceptional quality paper. Chinese export watercolours occupy “a space which is neither wholly Chinese nor wholly European, but which can, by the nature of the compromises it makes, tell us a lot about how one culture saw the other in the age before photography.” (Clunas, p. 11)