The Costume of China, Royal Pavillion

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Artist William Alexander visited China in 1792-3 as part of the Macartney Embassy to China. Although primarily a diplomatic mission to improve trade relations between Britain and China, Alexander was one of a small number of artists and scientists who accompanied the mission to help record a country that few Westerners had seen at that time. The mission would prove to be a failure, but Alexander was able to produce over two thousand drawings of the country.

On his return to England, Alexander’s images were initially used to illustrate official accounts of the mission. In 1805 Alexander published The Costume of China, which featured 48 aquatints showing Chinese costume, life and architecture.

As rare and authentic glimpse at a faraway country, Alexander’s illustrations became both popular and influential. They certainly inspired Frederick Crace, one of the interior decorators of the Royal Pavilion. Several of the Chinese figures that can be seen in the Royal Pavilion have been directly copied from Alexander’s book

Above copy is taken from here

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