All things old China - books, anecdotes, stories, podcasts, factoids & ramblings from the author Paul French

Two Chinnery Sampan Girls, c.1850

Posted: November 11th, 2023 | No Comments »

Attributing works to George Chinnery and not his ‘school’ – Lamqua etc – is a minefield. Interestingly this painting of a Sampan Girl, c.1850, came up for auction recently in London. At first glance it appeared to be the same as the one that is in the collection at HKMOA, the Hong Kong Museum of Art (thanks to Peter Gordon in HK for spotting that).

I queried it with the auction house who noted that ‘Chinnery did a number of versions and this one (with fire ll) is also by Chinnery.’ And, yes on closer inspection you can see that in this pictture there is a fire of some sort in the background making it subtly different. So too the montains behind (Lapa/Wanzai?). and the scarf too – from yellow to red.

So, are either or both Chinnery? are either of both Lamqua or another member of the Chinnery Studio? Is the fire added to differentiate the painting for some reason? Is either one more desirable or valuable than the other? Are there any more?

And, of course, we should never forget that Chinnery was a lovable rogue and appreciated a bit of obfuscation…

Chinnery, Sampan Girl from the collection of HKMOA

Leave a Reply