Chinese Pith Painting collection of 69 images from the Library of Edward Laurence & Carrie Estelle Doheny.
China: c. 1840-1870. A splendid series of pith paintings from the Doheny collection. The watercolor and gouache paintings are splendidly preserved, displayed and housed. The bookplates of Carrie Estelle Doheny and Edward Laurence Doheny are mounted on acid free board which sits atop the images and the totality fits snugly into the box.
The images are in the traditional format, in this case illustrating nine subjects -
Royal Procession (6 images); Birds (11 images); Ships & Barges (5 ); Tea Cultivation (7); Punishments (11); Butterflies & Flowers (2 ); Butterflies & Insects (8); Court life (5); Flowers (Camellias etc.) (9). Each is protected in an archival paper sleeve 13 x 8.25 inches and numbered in pencil on the wrapper. Images 33 x 21 cm.
The stability of these images is greatly enhanced by their conservation. Each pith image has been backed on acid free tissue, supporting the pith which is quite fragile. The vast majority of the images are complete and undamaged. A minority have small marginal cracks or small corners missing. A couple have slight browning. Each image is preserved in a numbered acid-free folder, and the whole is housed in a custom brown and black leather solander box numbered XI on the front board.
Pith paintings are notoriously fragile. Crossman states, "The other paper commonly used for watercolors and gouaches, after 1800, was pith... The pith paper is a very fragile medium to work on and many of those watercolors which have survived are cracked and broken... Crossman, "The China Trade," pp 95-97.
A splendid collection. Fine. Item #27200