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Watercolours from the China Station, 1920s

Posted by Michael Simpson, on November 21st, 2013


Painted by Lt Willis for his three-year-old son Derek from HMS Carlisle in 1926, these watercolours show a lively and entertaining view of China from the security of a light cruiser, able to penetrate deep into China.  Life on board would have been full of variety, as Britain was the major power throughout China, and undertook the role of patrolling the rivers, rescuing merchant ships from pirates, protecting British nationals and their businesses, and undertaking small military expeditions.  These are not illustrated in the watercolours, but the variety of local life is portrayed vividly.

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