Chinese Barges of the Embassy passing through a Sluice on the Grand Canal

  • About the work
    Country: China
    City: Beijing
    Place: British Embassy
  • About the artist
    Benjamin Thomas Pouncy was a pupil of printmaker William Woollett. From 1772 to 1789 he exhibited mainly watercolour views of Kent at the Society of Artists and the Royal Academy. He was also a printmaker, producing plates for antiquarian and travel books, and making etchings and engravings after his own designs. He worked collaboratively with Woolett on some prints. In the 1770s, he produced illustrations for the librarian at Lambeth Palace, historian Andrew Coltee. He later made copies of medieval manuscripts for archivist and collector Thomas Astle’s ‘The Origin and Progress of Writing’ (1784). Engraver and watercolourist Joseph Powell lodged with Pouncy in Lambeth for a time and may have been his pupil. He died in Lambeth in 1799.
    William Alexander was born in Maidstone, Kent; the son of a coachbuilder. He entered the Royal Academy Schools in 1784 and may have trained under watercolourist Julius Caesar Ibbetson. He travelled to China as Junior Draughtsman in Lord Macartney's embassy of 1792 to 1794 and his drawings of the expedition were later engraved. In 1802 he became the first Master of Landscape Drawing at the Royal Military College in Great Marlow, Buckinghamshire. He held an interest in medieval architecture and travelled throughout Britain, drawing churches and monuments. His drawings of Egyptian antiquities in the British Museum were engraved and published between 1805 and 1807. In 1808, he was appointed the Museum’s Assistant Keeper of Prints and Drawings.
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  • Details
    Chinese Barges of the Embassy passing through a Sluice on the Grand Canal
    published 12 April 1796
    Purchased from Sotheby's, 29 May 1996
    GAC number