Chinese Vessels.


Scarce c.18th engraving of Chinese Junks as seen at Canton, by Lord Anson’s while on his famous circumnavigation of the world. A.  A junk of about one hundred and twenty tons burden, these are much used in the great rivers. … Read Full Description


S/N: AAVRTW-042-SHIPS–448370
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Full Title:

Chinese Vessels.





In good condition, with folds as issued.


Hand coloured copper engraving.

Image Size: 

x 170mm

Paper Size: 

x 247mm
Chinese Vessels. - Antique Print from 1748

Genuine antique



Scarce c.18th engraving of Chinese Junks as seen at Canton, by Lord Anson’s while on his famous circumnavigation of the world.

A.  A junk of about one hundred and twenty tons burden, these are much used in the great rivers.
B.  A junk of about two hundred and eighty tons burden and the same form as the ones that trade to Cochinchina, Manila, Batavia and Japan.
C.  The head of junk B. above

Anson was given command of the 60-gun third-rate HMS Centurion in the West Africa Squadron in 1737 and, having been promoted to commodore with his broad pennant in HMS Centurion, he took command of a squadron sent to attack Spanish possessions in South America at the outset of the War of Jenkins’ Ear. In 1740. Those orders were ‘to take, burn, sink or otherwise destroy the ships and vessels belonging to the Crown of Spain‘. The ships involved were the CenturionGloucesterSevernPearlWagerTryal and twAdd Rowo store ships the Anna and Industry. Anson had great difficulty in manning the fleet and the crew was supplemented with 500 invalids, out-patients from Chelsea Hospital who all died during the voyage.

After setting off later than planned, Anson’s squadron encountered successive disasters. Two of his vessels, the fifth-rate HMS Pearl and the fourth-rate HMS Severn, failed to round Cape Horn and returned home. Meanwhile, the sixth-rate HMS Wager was wrecked off the coast of Chile, where the crew subsequently mutinied. The lateness of the season forced him to round the Horn in very stormy weather, and the navigating instruments of the time did not allow for exact observations. Anson reached the Juan Fernández Islands in June 1741 with only three of his six ships remaining: HMS Centurion, the fourth-rate HMS Gloucester, and the sloop HMS Tryall. The strength of his crews had fallen from 961 to 335 due to scurvy. In November 1741, he was able to sack the small port city of Paita in Peru in the absence of any effective Spanish force on the coast. However, the steady decrease of his crews by scurvy and the worn-out state of his remaining consorts compelled him to collect all the remaining survivors in Centurion. Anson then rested at the island of Tinian before making his way to Macao in November 1742.

After facing considerable difficulties with the Chinese, Anson sailed again with his one remaining vessel to search for one of the Manila galleons that conducted trade between Mexico and the Chinese merchants in the Philippines. He captured the Nuestra Señora de Covadonga, which he encountered off Cape Espiritu Santo on 20 June 1743. The ship had 1,313,843 pieces of eight on board, and the charts captured with the ship added many islands (and phantom islands) to the British knowledge of the Pacific, including the Anson Archipelago.

Anson took his prize back to Macao, sold her cargo to the Chinese, kept the specie, and sailed for England via the Cape of Good Hope. Despite passing by a French fleet patrolling the Channel through a thick fog, he reached England on 15 June 1744. The prize money earned from the capture of the galleon made Anson a rich man for life and bought him considerable political influence. However, he initially refused promotion to Rear-Admiral of the Blue out of anger that the admiralty refused to sanction a captain’s commission he had given one of his officers.

Anson, George (1697-1762), Voyage Round The World in The Years MDCCXL, I, II, III, IV by George Anson Esq; Commander In Chief of a Squadron of His Majesty?s Ships, Sent Upon an Expedition to The South-Seas. Compiled From Papers and Other Materials of The Right Honourable George Lord Anson, and Published Under His Direction, by Richard Walter, M.A. Chaplain of His Majesty’s Ship The Centurion, in that Expedition.

Hill, J. The Hill Collection of Pacific Voyages. San Diego 1974 :: : 1817.
Sabin, J. A Dictionary of Books Relating to America, from its Discovery to the Present Time. New York. (1936) 1967 :: : 1626.
Shirley, R. Maps in the Atlases of The British Library. London 2004 :: : G.ANS-1a., RCIN 1072004.

National Library Australia: Bib ID 644716
State Library New South Wales: Call Numbers:RB/DQ909.8A/A622/1
State Library Victoria: RARELT 910.41 AN8V
State Library South Australia: 910.41 A622.4 b (RGS Special Collection)
National Maritime Museum Greenwich: Item ID PBD3287

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