Chinese botanical watercolors. CHINA, Company School. An album of original botanical watercolors.  [Shanghai: c.1790.]
Lot 72
Chinese botanical watercolors.
CHINA, Company School.
An album of original botanical watercolors. [Shanghai: c.1790.]
US$ 5,000 - 8,000
£3,700 - 5,900

Lot Details
Chinese botanical watercolors. CHINA, Company School. An album of original botanical watercolors.  [Shanghai: c.1790.]
Chinese botanical watercolors.
CHINA, Company School. An album of original botanical watercolors. [Shanghai: c.1790.]
Folio (435 x 315 mm). 20 original watercolor and gauche drawings (365 x 280 mm and smaller) mounted on Chinese paper. Mid-19th century dark red gilt morocco, covers with an elaborate gilt border of two thick fillets flanking a highly decorative roll, with cornerpieces of large square stylized flower-heads, the border enclosing a large central panel blocked in semi-relief with highly elaborate panels to an overall Adam-influenced design centering on an oval with a large flowerhead, within a lozenge, this panel filled with stylized scrolling foliage and flowerheads, the spine in five unequal compartments, each gilt with numerous small tools, the third compartment with a design centered on a shaped lozenge, the others with a repeat design of a broken oval with numerous small tools, elaborate gilt turn-ins, white watered-silk textured paper endpapers, damascened steel clasp, gilt edges. One watercolor detached, some with tears at corner mounts.

A fine early collection of original botanical watercolors. Recalling traditional Chinese compositions, subjects include an amaranthus, a mallow, tree peonies, narcissi, prunus, begonia, iris, and a spray of wild white dog-rose being visited by five bees and three butterflies. The quality of the album into which these drawings have been mounted suggest that their outstanding quality was recognized. The collection forms part of what was to become a well-established tradition of almost exclusively anonymous Chinese artists, working in and around the coastal trading ports, producing work for Western patrons, such as members of the East India and Dutch East India Companies.
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