No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VA… Read more THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN (LOTS 130-209)


Depicting the military achievements of Emperor Qianlong in Central Asia (1755-1759), including scenes of battlefields, sieges and encampments, mostly set in rugged, mountainous terrains, by L.J. Masquelier, B.L. Prevost, J. Aliamet et al., variously inscribed, within moulded giltwood later frames

1. "The battle of Qos-Qulaq" ("Le combat de Qos-Qulaq")
The Khoja were defeated here in 1759 by Ming Rui.
Drawn by Castiglione; engraved by Prevot, 1774

2. "The Lifting of the Siege of the Black River (Khara-Usu)" ("La Levée du Siège de la Rivière Noire [Khara-Usu]")
Illustrates the final submission of the region of Kashgar. In 1758 there were still two rebel strongholds, one of Yarkand and one at Kashgar. Zhao Hui was unable to take Yarkand, moved east but was forced to retreat by the rebels, who lay siege to him at the Black River. In 1759, Zhao Hui learnt of the imminent arrival of relief troops, and so stormed the rebel town and brought the rebellion to an end
Drawn by Castiglione, 1765; engraved by Le Bas, 1771

3. "Storming the Camp at Gadan-Ola" ("On the Force le Camp (établi) A Gadan-Ola")
This depicts the scene were the Kalmouk Ayusi, who had defected to the Chinese side, stormed the camp on mount Gadan.
Drawn by Castiglione, 1765; engraved by Le Bas, 1769

4. "The Battle of Tonguzluq" ("Le Combat de Tonguzluq")
Possibly a famous episode which occurred in 1758 when Zhao Hui tried to take
Yarkand for the first time.
Drawn by Castiglione; engraved by St. Aubin, 1773

5. "The Battle of Khurungui" (Le Combat de Khurungui")
The battle occurred on Mount Khurungui where Zhao Hui ambushed the partisans of Amoursana during the night
Drawn by Damascene; engraved by Aliamet

6. "The Khan of Badakhsan Asks to Surrender" ("Le Khan de Badakhsan Demande
a Se Soumettre")
Drawn by Damascene; engraved by Choffard, 1772

7. "The Battle of d'Arcul" ("Le Combat d'Arcul")
The Khoja took refuge at Arcul after their defeat at Qos-Kucuk.
Drawn by Attiret, 1765; engraved by Aliamet

8. "The Emperor is Presented with Prisoners from the Pacification of the Muslim
Tribes" ("On Offre [A L'Empereur] Les Prisonniers [Faits Lors] De La Pacification
Des Tribus Musulmanes")
The prisoners are presented at the palace gate of Wumen. The Emperor is also offered
the head of the Khoja Huo Jizhan
Drawn by Attiret; engraved by Masquelier

9."The submission of the Ili" ("On reçoit la soumission de l'Ili) This refers to the first submission of the Ili in 1755. The Chinese troops marched in spring and, upon reaching Kouldja, encountered no resistance.
Drawn by Sichelbarth, 1765; engraved by Prevot, 1769

10. "The Victory of Khorgos" ("La Victoire de Khorgos")
The partisans of Amoursana were defeated in 1758 by Prince Cäbdan-jab Drawn by Attiret, 1766; engraved by Le Bas, 1774

11. "The Great Victory at Qurman" ("La Grande Victoire de Qurman")
In 1759 General Fu Te, with less than 600 men, battled and defeated over 5000
Drawn by Damascene, 1765; engraved by St. Aubin, 1770

35¼ x 20¼ in. (89.5 x 51.5 cm.) [without frame]; 43 x 28¼ in. (109 x 72 cm.) [with frame] (11)
Bought from Spink, London, January 1998.
Special notice
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

The Emperor Qianlong commissioned the original set of sixteen engravings of his conquests on 13 July 1765 for the central hall of the Palace in Beijing and is recorded to have said: 'I wish the sixteen prints of the victories that I won in the conquest of the kingdom of Chumgar and the neighbouring Mahommedan countries, which I had painted by Lamxinim [Castiglione] and the other European painters who are in my service in the city of Peking, to be sent to Europe where the best artists in copper shall be chosen so that they may render each of these prints perfectly in all its parts on plates of copper'.
The drawings were prepared in China by four Jesuits: Giuseppe Castiglione, the director of the project, Jean-Denis Attiret, Ignatius Sichelbarth and Jean Damascène. By recommendation of Louis-Joseph Le Febvre, head of the French Jesuit mission to China, they were sent to Paris, where the engravings were executed by eight artists under the direction of Charles-Nicolas Cochin of the Académie Royale at the Court of Louis XVI. Jean-Philippe Le Bas, Helman's master, was one of the engravers. This commission was considered of utmost importance, as it potentially offered France means of leaving a favorable impression on the Emperor and thus gaining advantage in view of commerce and missioning, directed against the Dutch, Portuguese and English. The Emperor's commission was for an edition of one hundred copies only; however, to ensure the safe receipt of at least one hundred copies in China, an edition of 200 copies was actually printed. To reduce the risk of loss at sea they were distributed over two ships in lots of 100 impressions each. The entire edition was received in China by 1775 for which the Compagnie Francaise des Indes in Canton was paid the sum of 240,000 pounds. Only a very limited number of extra copies were printed for the French King, his ministers and some members of the Court and the greatest precaution was taken that no copies remained with the engravers or printers to ensure its exclusivity.

The engravings are documented in a monograph by Michèle Pirazzoli-T'Serstevens, Gravures des Conquetes de l'Empereur de Chine K'ien-Long au Musée Guimet, Paris 1969. A closely related set of thirteen engravings was sold anonymously, Sotheby's, New York, 22 March 1995, lot 339 ($118,000) including premium).

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