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Lecture - Interpreting Chart 1696, Views - Hong Kong Island and Vicinity, 1847: Lt. Leopold George Heath RN of HMS Iris, March 1846 - Mr Stephen Davies

  • Hong Kong Maritime Museum Central Pier No. 8 Hong Kong (map)

1696 - Views, Hong Kong Island and Vicinity, a sheet of images issued by the British Admiralty in 1847, has three images that together form a 360-degree panorama of Victoria Harbour as it was in 1846. Drawn by Lt Leopold George Heath, the gunnery lieutenant of HMS Iris the views are one of the best-known images of early Hong Kong. In this talk Stephen Davies will relate the images to the eight watercolour originals from which they were engraved, explain where the views were drawn from and analyse what they show. He will also talk about the history of the sheet of views, how long they were in production, how many different versions - or states as they are called - there seem to have been and the near impossibility of accurately dating most of them.

The Speaker

Stephen Davies, a Briton with family connections to Hong Kong that go back to the mid-1920s, served in the Royal Navy and Royal Marines (1963-67), briefly designed atlases and taught sailing and mountaineering before falling off a cliff and having to be screwed back together (1967-68). After university in Wales and London (1968-74) he taught political theory at the University of Hong Kong (1974-89). From 1990-2003 he and his partner sailed 50,000 miles visiting 27 countries in their 38’ sailing sloop; useful background for a maritime historian. He was appointed the first Museum Director of the Hong Kong Maritime Museum in 2005 finally leaving to return to academia in 2013. A published maritime historian, focused on Asian Seas and the interactions between the western and traditional Asian maritime worlds, he works with the Department of Real Estate and Construction, of which he is an Honorary Professor, and is an Honorary Fellow of the University’s Hong Kong Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences at HKU and on heritage lighthouses in HK, Macau, Taiwan, China and SE Asia with a team at the City University of Hong Kong. He is also Hon. Editor of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong. His most recent books are Coasting Past: The last of South China Coastal Trading Junks photographed by William Heering (Hong Kong Maritime Museum 2013) and East Sails West: the voyage of the Keying, 1846-1855 (Hong Kong University Press 2014). Strong to Save: Maritime mission in Hong Kong from Whampoa Reach to the Mariners’ Club was published by City University Press of HongKong in July 2017. He is now working on Transport to another world: the life and times of HMS Tamar 1863-2015. He continues as a yachting journalist, active yachtsman and occasional TV presenter, and works with museums and heritage interests in China, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Time: Reception desk opens at 6.30pm. Talk begins at 7.00pm

Admission: RAS Members $150; Non-members $200 including snacks and complimentary drink - please advise of any special dietary needs.

Booking: Please email in advance to reserve your place and pay at the door.