View of the Pearl River with the City of Canton, anonymous, 1771
From around 1770 European merchants gladly took with them a ‘view of Canton’ as a souvenir when they left China. These depictions were remarkably true to nature. The European buildings were continually renovated and beautified. Because these activities were recorded in the archives, the portrayals can be dated with great precision. This view is one of the earliest of its kind.