Singapore – Louis Le Breton, 1846

VIEW OF A CHINESE JUNK IN THE HARBOUR OF SINGAPORE “Jonque Chinoise a Sincapour.“ Lithograph by Thierry frères after the…

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Jonque Chinoise a Sincapour.“ Lithograph by Thierry frères after the drawing by Louis Le Breton, published in Paris by Gide in 1846 as part of Voyage au pôle Sud et dans l’Océanie sur les corvettes l’Astrolabe et la Zélée 1837-1840”, the official account of Jules Dumont D’Urville’s second expedition to the South Seas. Coloured by a later hand. Size: 26,5 x 32,5 cm.

This rare lithograph of Singapore was made from sketches while the Astrolabe and Zellee, under the command of Dumont D’Urville (1790-1842) anchored at Singapore for six days in June 1839.

Depicted is a Chinese junk among European ships and shows the first European Court House in Singapore on the right.

In 1826, Singapore was grouped by the British East India Company together with Penang and Malacca to form the Straits Settlements, administered by the British East India Company. In 1830, the Straits Settlements became a subdivision of the Presidency of Bengal in British India.

During the subsequent decades, Singapore grew to become an important port in the region. Its status as a free port provided a crucial advantage over other colonial ports in Batavia and Manila and it drew many Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Arab traders operating in South-East Asia to Singapore.

The population would quadruple from 1830 to 1867. Most people had no access to public health services and diseases such as cholera and smallpox caused severe health problems, especially in overcrowded working-class areas. The administration was ineffectiveness and due to the nature of the population, which was predominantly male, transient, and uneducated, the society was lawless and chaotic. Prostitution, gambling, and drug abuse (particularly of opium) were widespread.

It is said that this lithograph is one of the earliest obtainable views of Singapore.

Price: Euro 1.250,-