Bonhams : Rare Historical Views of Macau by Artist who made Island his Home on Show at Bonhams Hong Kong
Rare Historical Views of Macau by Artist who made Island his Home on Show at Bonhams Hong Kong

Two rare, large landscapes by the British artist George Chinnery, who settled in Macau in 1825 and died there in 1852, are going on display at Bonhams Hong Kong, One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Admiralty from 21st October - 20th November. Once in the collection of the Viscounts Strathallan, Strathallan Castle, Auchterarder, Scotland, they will be offered for sale in London in February 2020.

The paintings provide a chance to compare the Macau of today with the way it looked in the second quarter of the 19th century. Surprisingly perhaps, many of the features that were familiar to Chinnery, remain largely unchanged.

A view of Macau looking towards the gardens of the Casa, with figures in the foreground, estimated at £70,000-100,000 appears to be taken from a high point above the inner harbour looking towards the gardens of the Casa, now Macau's largest public park. The pitched roof of the Grotto of Camoes is visible among the trees of the Casa gardens in the middle distance. 

The Grotto of Camoes, Macau, estimated at £60,000-80,000 shows the romantic visitor attraction which still overlooks the western point of the peninsula. In Chinnery's day, the Grotto – which took its name from the Portuguese epic poet, Luis Vaz de Camoes - stood in the very substantial private gardens of an impressive house owned by the merchant Manuel Pereira and known simply as the Casa. The British bought a plot of land within the grounds of the Casa from Pereira to create a Protestant burial ground. Chinnery himself is buried there, and a memorial to him still stands in the cemetery.

George Chinnery
Born in London in 1779, Chinnery studied at the Royal Academy Schools and after a short spell in Dublin moved in 1802 to Madras, abandoning his wife and two young children in the UK. For the rest of his life he lived and worked overseas, firstly in India and from 1825 in the Portuguese colony of Macau. Although primarily a society portraitist, Chinnery was also a talented landscape painter.

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