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E.V - Mid 19th Century Watercolour, Basket of Flowers

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A watercolour and gouache on pith paper painting of a basket of flowers. Signed with monogram. On Pith Paper.


Several losses and cracks to the edges of the pith paper, due to its fragile nature.


23 x 17.3cm (9.1" x 6.8")
Sheet: 26.1 x 19.9cm (10.3" x 7.8")

Collection Information

Pith presumably came into use for painting to satisfy the increasing demand for small, inexpensive and easily transported souvenirs, following the massive growth in the China Trade in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. Paintings in oils, on board and canvas were costly and difficult to carry home. Earlier and more prestigious export water-colours had often been on a larger scale and painted on fine Chinese paper or on paper imported from Europe. They may have suited the sea-captains and informed the aristocracy but for the hoi polloi they were too expensive. The albums of pith paintings (and later the little glass-fronted boxes) were inexpensive, light, easy to pack and gave the pictures some protection on the long voyage home. Because many were sold in albums and hence protected from the light, they retain their bright colours to this day. Because of the nature of pith and its cellular structure, the gouache used by the Chinese sat on the surface and produced a bright and even sparkling effect. Very fine detail could be achieved but pith did not lend itself to the flat wash of colour favoured for European watercolours.

More Information
Code pt021
Artist E.V
Date Mid 19th Century
Dimensions 23 x 17.3cm
Framed No
Medium Watercolour
Style Realism
Subject Floral & Botanical
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