15 July 2005
GERMAN MANUFACTURER, 19TH CENTURY
Die Eroberung von China durch die Engländer. Le siége de China [sic.] par les Anglais. The siege of China by the Englishmen. [Germany: circa 1842]. A concertina fold-out peepshow (152 x 230 x 620mm. when fully extended), in six sections: hand-coloured lithographic paper illustrated title and 'peephole' mounted onto card with border of embossed coloured paper (slightly soiled and rubbed), 4 hand-coloured lithographic paper sections, 1 hand-coloured lithographic paper 'back-drop' mounted on card (some soiling to verso of 'back-drop').
A VERY RARE SOUVENIR OF EUROPEAN IMPERIALIST AMBITIONS IN CHINA - probably recalling the First Opium War of 1838-1842. The scene captured by the 'peepshow' is not so much a siege, more the triumphal parade of 'English' troops towards the open gate of a major walled city, the way flanked by cheering largely-Chinese crowds. The focus of the parade is a single figure on horseback, in a generic uniform, waving a cockaded hat, and perhaps intended to represent Captain Anthony Blaxland Stransham: the commander of the Royal Marines during the latter stages of the war. The first Opium War concluded with the Treaty of Nanking in August 1842 - the present work probably dates to this period or shortly thereafter.
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