I was reading Imperial China: Photographs 1850-1912 by Clark Worswick and Jonathan Spence and came across a funny passage about the nineteenth-century English painter George Chinnery, who went to China in 1825 and settled there until his death in 1852.

For most of his life, Chinnery's geographic location in the world was determined by a series of strategic retreats from his wife whom he described as 'the ugliest woman I ever saw in my life.' The first abandonment had occurred in 1802 when the painter fled to India to escape her; years later she caught up with him and in 1825, he fled once again, this time arriving in Macao. Thereafter, whenever this formidable female threatened to pursue him, Chinnery would beat a hasty retreat to Canton, the final and enviable haven for the henpecked husband. One of the most stringent rules of the China trade decreed that no European females were allowed in Canton by imperial edict.

British people say the funniest things.

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