Product images of Presentation telescope
We use a 280gsm fine art paper and premium branded inks to create the perfect reproduction.
Our expertise and use of high-quality materials means that our print colours are independently verified to last between 100 and 200 years.
Read more about our fine art prints.
Manufactured in the UK
All products are printed in the UK, using the latest digital presses and a giclée printmaking process.
We only use premium branded inks, and colours are independently verified to last between 100 and 200 years.
This highly decorative achromatic telescope has a watch fitted into the objective lens cap, which screws onto the barrel. Although the telescope was made in England, the watch was probably imported from France and added to the telescope by the makers, Fraser & Son. The barrel is covered with blue enamel and gold and inlaid with pearls. There are three brass draw tubes. The telescope is believed to be one of a large group of scientific instruments presented to Emperor Chien Lung (reigned 1736-96) by Lord Macartney in 1793, during his trade mission to China on behalf of the East India Company and the British Government. The mission aimed to open up new markets for English goods and obtain a lease for an English trading post in China. It failed on both counts.
There is no official record of the telescope in the list of goods taken to China by Macartney. Macartney did, however, purchase additional gifts from his officers and officials on the embassy after he began to worry that there weren't enough. It is possible that the telescope was one of these, although it is also possible that the Emperor acquired it on a separate occasion.
The telescope is said to have been taken by General de Montauban from the Winter Palace in Peking during the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901). It is also possible, however, that it was looted by British troops towards the end of the Second Opium War (1856-60) between Britain and China.
Fraser & Son
- Image reference: D9590
- National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London