Lt. Warre’s Huangpu River (Pt. 4)

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Panorama of the Huangpu River, Shanghai, China, 1846-1847

Let’s get back to Lt. Warre’s watercolor!

He starts panel number five by stating that the American flag you can see at the left is the temporary location of the American Consulate and that it is actually sitting on “British ground.” The location of its permanent home is down in panel 7 on “the right bank of a small river…leading to Souchowfoo”. I think the river is the Wusong (also called Suzhou) and that “Souchowfoo” is actually Suzhou—at least that’s the closest spot I can figure fits his phonetic spelling of the place name! [I did check to see if the “S” was an “F” because there was a place called “Fouchowfoo” (Fuzhou) but the shape of Warre’s letters is pretty specific and luckily he gave me an “F” and “S” to make the comparison—you can thank graduate school for the paleography training!]   Read more

Lt. Warre’s Huangpu River (Pt. 3)

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Panorama of the Huangpu River, Shanghai, China, 1846-1847

Let’s continue with Lt. Warre’s panoramic view of the Huangpo River. As we move to panel three the scene starts to become quite a bit more crowded. Lt. Warre states that the mass of junks and European shipping is so thick at this point that it pretty much fills the river from bank to bank. Of course, he is still lamenting that his paper isn’t wide enough and he also states that he hasn’t been able to represent the river traffic nearly as densely as he wishes “So far from the number of vessels being exaggerated they are not half thick enough!”.

At this point Warre gives a quick description of the right bank of the river (which we can’t see). He states: “Behind the shipping is the Chinese City of Shanghae, a large walled city, but the houses all low and mean and not visible above the city walls, except on the river side.” The mass of shipping on the left bank of the river extends two or three miles and Warre states that to be accurate even the foreground of the scene should be completely filled with boats. I am glad he didn’t completely fill the scene because it would make it really difficult to see the particular details he has included.   Read more

Lt. Warre’s Huangpu River (Pt. 2)

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As promised here are the first two panels of Lt. John Frederick Warre’s 1847-1847 view along the Huangpu River.

The first image in the series places the viewer with Shanghai at his back looking down the Huangpu River towards “Woosung” (Wusong is now a district within Shanghai).  Warre describes a low arched bridge at the extreme left (he uses the word “brullah” which must be a phonetic spelling because I can’t figure out exactly what he is referring to). He states that the Chinese built most bridges like this one and that they have a single railing. On the left bank of the river are bamboos and “fruit & large umbrageous trees” (“umbrageous” means big trees that provide shade– I learn something new every day!).   Read more