MIT Visualizing Cultures
MIT Visualizing Cultures
“Captain Richard Wheatland of Salem” (detail) by Spoilum, 1800–1805
Peabody Essex Museum [cwPT_1800-05_M22879_Wht_sc ]
MIT Visualizing Cultures
MIT Visualizing Cultures
“The Distress'd Situation of the ship Eliza in a Typhoon in the Gulph of Japan” (detail),
attributed to Spoilum, ca. 1798-1800. Peabody Essex Museum [cwSP_1798c_ct113_Eliza]
MIT Visualizing Cultures
“Portrait of a Western Merchant,” reverse glass painting by Spoilum,
ca. 1785–1795 [cw_1890s_MechantBySpoilum]
MIT Visualizing Cultures
“The Silk Merchant Eshing” (detail) by Spoilum, 1800-1805
Peabody Essex Museum [ccwPT_1800-05_M364_Eshing_sc]
MIT Visualizing Cultures
“Scene Outside the Court” (detail), attributed to Spoilum, after 1807
Hong Kong Museum of Art [ cwC_1807_AH6428_Court1_sc]
MIT Visualizing Cultures
“William Story of Salem MA” (detail) by Spoilum, 1804
Peabody Essex Museum [cwPT_1804_ct46_Story]
MIT Visualizing Cultures
“Scene Inside the Court” (detail), attributed to Spoilum, after 1807
Hong Kong Museum of Art [cwC_1807_ct108]
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Spoilum (Guan Zuolin)


Spoilum had remarkable talent and versatility. His renderings of Western merchants, usually completed in sittings of two to three hours, cost around $10 per portrait. He also produced some of the most famous paintings of Chinese hong merchants like Eshing and Puan Kee Qua. He was a truly international artist. His paintings could end up in English country homes, in the homes of sea captains in Salem, Massachusetts, or in the estates of hong merchants in Canton.
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Rise & Fall of the Canton Trade System III
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