On loan from the Peabody Essex Museum
Salem, Massachusetts, gift of Rebecca B. Chase, Ann B. Mathias, Charles E. Bradford
Unidentified Chinese artist after George Chinnery
Canton, China
Oil on canvas
ca. 1840

This engaging portrait depicts Howqua, one of the most prominent Cantonese Hong merchants of the 19th century. Through the American trader Robert Bennet Forbes, Howqua invested heavily in, among other ventures, the burgeoning American railroad system in the mid 19th century. At the time of his death, he was widely regarded as the wealthiest person in the world.