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CHINESE SCHOOL (18TH-CENTURY), A Fine Album of Botanical Watercolors 18th-century

  • $ 65,000.00

A Fine Album of Botanical Watercolors

Folio (19 2/8 x 12 in). 46 fine watercolor drawings on Chinese paper, each lightly mounted in a folio volume of western paper (sheet size 15 x 11 in) (the second sheet is torn, occasional light browning, a few other tears, especially at corners). Original marbled paper wrappers, and half red sheep, marbled paper boards portfolio, modern red morocco-backed clamshell case.
Provenance: with the bookplate of Frederick, 2nd Lord Hesketh.

A beautiful album of exquisite watercolors of exotic Asian flowers. The market for Chinese export watercolors grew out of the trade-in porcelain to the West. In Britain, botanical interest in the exotic botany of the world was spurred on by Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), the president of the Royal Society. However, the botanical treasures of China must have been known in England well before 1750, since Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) owned a fine album of such drawings, now in the British Museum. There was a long tradition of botanical writing and illustration in China, dating back to the Song dynasty (960-1279), and the desire of Western scholars to obtain accurate depictions of unfamiliar Asian flora and fauna was easily satisfied by Chinese natural history watercolorists. The tradition of botanical painting was so prevalent throughout China that western traders were not solely reliant upon the workshops at Canton, the main trading city-port, and also obtained watercolors from other parts of the Chinese community in southeast Asia.

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