The seal inscription comes from Wu neizhuan, Inner Biography of the Wu Kingdom, of the Yue jueshu series, the End of the kingdom of Yue, compiled in the Han period (206 BC-220 AD). It can be translated as 'According to the Way (Dao), one should not squander when wealthy, not proud when succcesful, and not claiming credit when making contribution.
Dong Gao (1740-1818) was the son of Dong Bangda (1699-1769) and took his jinshi degree in 1763. A noted and high-ranking government official, he served Emperors Qianlong and Jiaqing for more than four decades. He held numerous illustrious posts and supervised the compilation of several imperial histories and anthologies. The emperors also prized Dong Gao's calligraphy and paintings, many of which were included in the Palace collection.