CHINESE SCHOOL, 18th CENTURY
Schätzpreis: 25.000 £ - 30.000 £
ca. 40.954 $ - 49.145 $
Zuschlagspreis: 40.000 £
ca. 65.527 $
CHINESE SCHOOL, 18th CENTURY A Chinese album of botanical watercolours of fruit. [n.p. but ?Canton: n.d. but circa 1780?]. 2° (418 x 315mm). 49 FINE WATER- AND BODYCOLOUR DRAWINGS of Chinese fruits (sheet size: 380 x 295mm. approximately), individually tipped onto larger sheets, the plants identified (in characters) by their Chinese name, with two sets of early manuscript numbering from 1-49 (in red and black ink). Contemporary Chinese gold, black and red silk brocade over boards, blue watered silk liners (worn, covers detached, spine lacking). Provenance : early catalogue description, in French (mounted on front pastedown, circa 1800); William Carlyon, Tregrehan, Cornwall (mid 19th Century armorial bookplate). A FINE COLLECTION OF CHINESE BOTANICAL STUDIES OF FRUIT ON CHINESE PAPER. The subjects include loquat, persimmon, kumquats, watermelon, pineapple, peach, lychee, rose apple, grapes, plum, pomegranate, jackfruit, 'Buddha's fingers' (a citrus fruit), mango, papaya, water chesnut, pumpkin, pear, banana, peanut, pomelo, star fruit, chestnut, peach, maize, melon, figs, custard apple, and tomato. This collection appears to be a particularly early example of what became a well-established tradition of almost exclusively anonymous Chinese artists, working in and around the coastal trading ports, producing work generally for Western consumption, more particularly the members of the East India and Dutch East India Companies. The early date can be postulated as all the drawings are on Chinese paper and the album in which they are mounted is of entirely Chinese manufacture, most later collections were produced on western paper supplied to the artists, in addition the catalogue fragment at the front uses a form of measurment officially abandonned in France by 1792. That the tradition required the artists to produce work to order, working from master-copies (see near duplicate drawings of the tomato, numbers 24 and 49), does not detract from the high quality of draughtsmanship. The drawings, whilst meeting western demands for botanical accuracy, have that fine Chinese feeling and tradition for design and delicacy almost bringing the plants to life, and are arguably a match for anything that western botanical artists were producing at the time.
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