The Triumph of Benevolence

About 1805


Legacy dimension: h. 24" w. 30" d. 2"

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Glass and gilded wood

On View

Oak Hill: Dining Room (Gallery 121A)


Americas, Asia



“The Triumph of Benevolence” Chin Qua Glass and gilded wood. A painting on glass in a gilt frame depicting a British soldier, lying in a prison cell, surrounded by his wife and three young children. He is being handed a purse of money by a benefactor, as the prison guard looks on. The painting is signed on the front: CHIN QUA “The TRIUMPH of BENEVOLENCE” This is a copy of a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds depicting Howard’s attempts at prison reform. The painting was bought in Canton in 1805 by Daniel Whitney, and descended in the family to the donor. There is a paper label on the back of the painting describing the painting’s history.

Purchased by an American merchant in Canton (now Guangzhou), about 1805, this is the kind of Chinese-export painting Elias Hasket Derby might have encountered through his Asian shipping trade. By the end of the eighteenth century, Chinese artisans had developed a lucrative business copying European and American prints onto sheets of glass, which then were framed in the Western style and sold to Westerners. This painting is a direct copy of an English print-“The Triumph of Benevolence” by James Gillray, published in 1788.

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Walter Tebbetts