The Belle of Bath was launched in May, 1877 in Bath, Maine, by Goss & Sawyer; 1418 tons; length 203.9 ft, beam 39 ft., depth 24.3 ft. She was built for Parker M. Whitmore et al. and sold to Searsport parties in 1883 for $47,500. She was destroyed by fire in June, 1897, while bound from New York to Hong Kong loaded with case oil (kerosene). The Belle of Bath was captained by William G. Nichols and Henry G. Curtis of Searsport. This painting, done by an unknown Chinese artist, was given to Penobscot Marine Museum by the Nichols family.
Under the command of Capt. Daniel C.Nichols of Searsport, in Hong Kong Harbor, near the end of her sailing life. The painting originally had one mast placed incorrectly. The captain had the artist correct it, but the reflection in the water was not painted out. The picture shows four reflections for three masts.
While Commodore Matthew Perry is best known for his two visits to Japan, he also spent time in China.
Engraving from Narrative of the Expedition of an American Squadron to the China Seas and Japan, performed in the years 1852, 1853, and 1854, under the command of Commodore M.C. Perry, United States Navy, 1856.
Laquered sewing boxes like this one were frequently found in Maine deepwater captains' homes, a useful gift or something that a captain's wife might have bought for herself when shopping in Canton. Chinese lacquered sewing box from Canton. Gilt chinoiserie, with carved ivory implements inside.
Detail of East India Archipelago, Western Route to China, Chart No. 5, showing Macao, the Canton River, and Hong Kong. Whampoa Reach was as high as trading vessels were allowed to sail on the Canton River.
Chinese painting of the Hongs of Canton and a view of Canton Harbor, c. 1850. These painting were produced in quantities to sell to the western merchants. There are six Chinese junks and an American steamboat in the foreground. Flags of America, France, Britain and Denmark fly. A massive fire destroyed these buildings in 1856. Hongs served as residences, trading headquarters, and warehouses for western merchants in Canton. Westerners were restricted to the Hongs.