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The Old Summer Palace

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A pair of 19th century gouache paintings of the Old Summer Palace; The Imperial Gardens. Painted for the export market and probably destined for France, within their original gilded moulding frames. Chinese circa 1860.

Constructed throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries, the Old Summer Palace was the main imperial residence of Qianlong, Emperor of the Qing dynasty.

In 1860, during the Second Opium War, as the Anglo-French expedition force relentlessly approached Beijing, two British envoys, a journalist for The Times and a small escort of British and Indian troopers were sent to meet Prince Yi, under a flag of truce, to negotiate a Qing surrender. Meanwhile, the French and British troops reached the palace and conducted extensive looting and destruction. As news emerged that the negotiation delegation had been imprisoned and tortured, resulting in 20 deaths, the British High Commissioner to China, Lord Elgin, retaliated by ordering the complete destruction of the palace, which was then carried out by British troops.

Larger Palace 23.75 x 16.25 inches.

Smaller Palace 21 x 15.25 inches.


Item Code: 2676

£ 3400

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