Provenance: Sir Robert Hart (1835-1911).
British diplomat and Chinese government official of the Qing Dynasty. He was the fifth most famous minister of the late Qing dynasty and the first guest minister in Chinese history.
Hart arrived in China in May 1854, and from 1861 to 1911 he served as the Chief Commissioner of Customs of the late Qing Customs for nearly half a century.
In 1900, after the Eight-Nation Allience entered Beijing to suppress the Boxer Rebellion, Hart participated in the negotiation of the Treaty of Hsin Chou with Li Hongzhang, and tried his best to protect Qing’s interests in order to achieve the conditions of peace that the Qing dynasty could bear. In 1902 (the 28th year of Guangxu reign), later became Junior Prince Guardian, he was summoned to an audience with Empress Dowager Cixi, who gifted him a piece of calligrphyh of the character "Fu"(auspiciousness).
In 1908, at the age of 73, Hart left China on sick leave and returned to Britain, where he continued to hold the title of Chief Commissioner of Customs until 1910. Three years after Hart left China, on September 20, 1911, Hurd died of cardiac failure after pneumonia in Fingest, Buckinghamshire, England. He was posthumously honored by the Qing court with the title of Minister of State and Senior Prince Guardian.
Hart received numerous honors in his life, including the Chinese government awarded the First Class Crown, Hua Ling, Double Dragon Second Class First Bao Xing, three generations of the First Class Crown, the title of Senior Prince Guardian; Britain awarded the Order of St. Michael and St. George, the Order of Knight Commander, the Order of the Knight Grand Cross, the Order of the Baronetcy (fief is the County of Armagh of the Kilmoriarty); the first class of the Order of the Crown of Prussia, and the Grand Cross of the Order of Dannebrog in Denmark.
Hart spent most of his life in China, serving the Chinese Customs for nearly half a century, and a bronze statue of Hart was erected in Customs Square on the Bund until 1942, when it was destroyed by the Japanese in an unfortunate bombing. Hart Avenue in Hong Kong, located in Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, still exists today.
`Hart is even more passionate about Chinese culture, in China during the period had a large collection of Chinese artwoks and treasures displayed in his rooms, many of which are rewarded by the Emperors and Empress Dowager Cixi. It was not until he left China that the collection was shipped back to the UK in batches, some of which were shipped via Hong Kong and labeled with Hong Kong postal seals, some of which were marked with 'RH' in painted letters. After Hart passed away, the collection went to his descendants, some of whom affixed the family crest.
More HD photos: https://aldensauction.smugmug.com/The-RH-collection
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