Chinese Art

Paintings done by Chinese artists during the period of the China Trade tended to follow Western styles of portraiture. Early portraits (1785-1820), reflect Neoclassical style; while later portraits, from 1820 to mid-century, are more in the English romantic style. After mid-century, portraits depended on photography, and were usually painted from daguerreotypes or in the style of photographs. Some of these were done by ordinary port painters. One of the earliest known Chinese artists was Spoilum, who worked in Canton from c. 1785 to 1810. George Chinnery was an English artist, son of a member of the British East India Company, and opium addict, who lived in Canton and Macao from 1825 to 1852. He taught Chinese students and had great influence on Lam Qua, one of the best known of the later Chinese artists of this period. Lam Qua was the first Chinese artist working in the western style to exhibit in America. Reverse painting on glass was done by Chinese artists by the end of the 18th century. These were usually copies of European and American prints onto sheets of glass, which were then framed European style.