British Characters

  • Lord Napier
  • William Jardine
  • Sir James Matteson
  • George Chinnery
  • Captain Charles Elliot
  • Karl Gutzlaff

George Chinnery

A painter, Chinnery was a hard drinking picturesque character who always stayed one country ahead of his wife.

From 1825 until his death in 1852 Chinnery based himself in Macau, but until 1832 he made regular visits to Canton. He painted portraits of Chinese and Western merchants, visiting sea-captains, and their families resident in Macau. His work in oil paint was closely imitated by the Cantonese artists. Chinnery also painted landscapes (both in oils and in watercolors), and made numerous drawings of the people of Macau engaged in their daily activities.

At the time, Westerners were restricted in their access to China, trading out of settlements in Macau and later, Hong Kong where Chinnery also went. His interest in the local scene does indeed set him apart from most western artists of the time.

In 1846 he made a six-month visit to Hong Kong, where he suffered from ill health but made detailed studies of the newly founded colony. He died in Macau on May 30 1852 and is buried in the Old Protestant Cemetery there.