Antique Prints: Life in The Philippines in the 19th century

During the last decades of the 19th century, travel to the Far East from Europe was shortened by the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Travellers, adventurers,scientists, writers, illustrators,  could now venture into lands that seemed distant and mysterious. They came and documented everything they saw from people, to places, natural and material history. Written first hand accounts, journals, books, horticultural manuals, flora, fauna, birds, illustrations of people and scenes were drawn, illustrated, and sketched for lithographs. It was also the age of illustrated magazines and publishers sent correspondents and artists on these voyages to bring back drawings they would print. These Illustrated publications were the forerunners of international weeklies.

During the last decades of the 19th century, travel to the Far East from Europe was shortened by the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Travellers, adventurers,scientists, writers, illustrators,  could now venture into lands that seemed distant and mysterious. They came and documented everything they saw from people, to places, natural and material history. Written first hand accounts, journals, books, horticultural manuals, flora, fauna, birds, illustrations of people and scenes were drawn, illustrated, and sketched for lithographs. It was also the age of illustrated magazines and publishers sent correspondents and artists on these voyages to bring back drawings they would print. These Illustrated publications were the forerunners of international weeklies.

These pages from the Illustrated London News ( ILN )  to name a most popular publication for its time, have now become valuable, visible records of the Philippines in the 19th century.

Charles Wirgman was the most prolific painter and journalist working for the ILN and based in Hong Kong. Being a great observer, his sketches provided valuable  insights into daily lives of Filipinos  from all walks of life, their manners and lifestyle: people going about their lives in markets, parties, processions, trading, card playing, and taking the Spanish afternoon nap.
 
His lithographs and written reports, often humorous, from the pages of the Illustrated London News, have become rarer over the years because of their immense popularity. These prints form part of the Herald Suites Collection and can be seen in Herald Suites, Chino Roces .
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