Watercolor of Chrysanthemum and grasses. Chinese: early 19th century. 19 x 14 3/4. Watercolor on wove paper. Very good condition.
The China trade has captured the attention of European and American connoisseurs and collectors for the last two centuries. The traffic in porcelain, lacquered furniture, carvings and works on silk are best known to us today. In comparison, there has been less of an awareness of the varied work in the graphic arts that was also part of this commerce. This example of magnificent graphic work is not only beautiful to behold, but also of keen interest to the history of science. These exquisite and beautiful watercolor drawings were done by an unknown Chinese artist in the early 19th century. This is an early date for America’s China trade, which ran from approximately 1790 to 1890. The elegant handling of the flowers and the calligraphic expertise are unmistakably Chinese. This fine image portrays a camellia stalk with a bud and two blossoms, with foliage, over which hover two different types of butterflies. A delightful natural history image.