Chinese School, late 19th Century Macau

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Preview item
Chinese School
late 19th Century

Refer to department
Chinese School, late 19th Century
oil on canvas
45.7 x 78.1cm (18 x 30 3/4in).


  • Provenance
    With Paul Mason Gallery, London.
    Acquired from the above at the Grosvenor House Antiques Fair, London, by the present owner in 1987.

    Macau is the oldest European settlement in China, having been leased to the Portuguese in the sixteenth century as a reward for their assistance fighting pirates. With the introduction of the Canton System in 1757 and the subsequent limiting of Chinese trade with the West until the close of the First Opium War in 1842, Macau took on an increasingly important role in the China trade. The combination of Western influence and the wealth of the city can be seen in the elegant European architecture along the the distinctive curved promenade of the the Praya Grande. Perhaps most distinctive in this view is the number of Catholic churches that can be made out on the skyline, with what appears to be the churches of St Laurence, St Joseph's, St Dominic's and St Paul's, along with the Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady. The Fortaleza do Monte is prominently placed on the hilltop to the right of the scene, whilst Our Lady of Penha Church is placed atop Penha Hill to the left.