MCARTHUR, A. D.
H. M. S. "Encounter" at Ningpo. 1862
London: Paul Jerrard & Son, 170 Fleet Street, circa 1863. Hand-coloured lithograph. In excellent condition with the exception of three small tears in bottom margin. Two yellow stains in upper edge of sheet. Image size: 9 15/16 x 14 ¼ inches. Sheet size: 12 7/8 x 17 inches.
A beautiful lithograph of the H. M. S. "Encounter" in Ningpo harbor, during the Tiaping Rebellion.
This bold print depicts the battleship H. M. S. "Encounter" at port in Ningpo harbor. From 1850 to 1864 China was engulfed in a bloody civil war known as the Taiping Rebellion. The rebellion was led by Hung Hsiu-ch'üan, a visionary from Guangdong who evolved a political creed influenced by elements of Christianity. His object was to replace the existing Qing Dynasty with a new dynasty, the Taiping. Widespread discontent brought Hsiu-ch'üan many adherents, especially among the poorer classes, and the movement spread with great violence through the eastern valley of the Chang River. The rebels captured Nanjing in 1853 and made it their capital. Britain at first sympathized with the rebellion, but upon realizing that the Qing dynasty might collapse, an event that would effectively eliminate the possibility of foreign trade with China (i.e. the huge opium trade), lent troops in support of the royal army. The British navy was deployed off the Chinese coast, and the military led the army against the Taiping rebels. Weakened by strategic blunders and internal dissension, the Taiping rebels were finally defeated in 1864. More than 20 million people died in the Rebellion.
The "Encounter" was built in 1846, a "screw sloop." It was used in the 2nd Opium War, participating in the attack on Canton, "breaching its walls", according to a newspaper account. The "Encounter" was broken up soon after the action depicted in this print, in 1863.