|Lithograph with original hand colouring
|after Dr. Edward Hodges Cree
|Dickinson & Co. Lith. London [c.1850]
|Image 350 x 538 mm
A rare and important depiction of the destruction of a pirate fleet in the South China Sea, from a series of lithographs after original watercolours by the naval surgeon Dr Hodges Cree. The scene commemorates the bombardment of the notorious Qing pirate Chui A-poo and his ships by a combined force of British and Chinese warships, including the steam ship Fury, upon which Hodges Cree was serving at the time. The battle, which resulted in a resounding victory for the British and Chinese forces, was inspired by Chui A-poo's murder of two British naval officers. Despite their numbers, with over fifty vessels anchored in Bias Bay near Hong Kong, the pirates were severely outgunned. 400 pirates perished, and Chui A-poo, badly wounded, was captured and sentenced to Transportation to Tasmania, but hanged himself rather than serve his exile.
Inscription below image reads: Destruction of the Pirate Squadron commanded by Chui Apoo, in Byas Bay, China, 1st October 1849, By Her Majesty's sloop Columbine, J.C. Dalrymple Hay Esq Commr, HM steam sloop Fury, S. Willcox Esq Commr, and HMS Hastings.
Dr. Edward Hodges Cree (1814-1901) was a British Navy surgeon, whose extensive journals, now in the collection of the Royal Museums Greenwich, are an invaluable first-hand account of British naval life in the nineteenth century. Between 1837 and 1861, Hodges Cree travelled extensively on a dozen different Royal Navy vessels. His accounts of events in the Far East are particularly enlightening, and he was an eye witness to the First Opium War and conflicts with the pirates of the South China Sea. The end of his career with the Navy coincided with the Crimean War, and he was present at the Fall of Sebastopol in 1855. Aside from his commentaries, Hodges Cree was also a prolific artist, and his journals preserve over fifteen hundred original illustrations.
Condition: Overall time toning and slight fading to original hand colouring. Repaired puncture to centre of top margin and lower right foreground. Repaired tear to left margin 15mm into image, repaired tear to right margin well outside of the image. Repaired surface damage to mountains and sky middle and left top. Framed in its original period frame.