A Group of Three Chinese-Export Pictorial Wallpaper Panels c.1790-1800

Origin: Chinese
Period: Qing Dynasty
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1790-1800
Height: 20.5”
Width: 13”
Depth: 0.75” (each in frames)

The set of three Chinese-Export hand painted wall paper panels, in watercolours on paper,  depicting various birds in flowering trees and lotus leaves, each within green painted simulated bamboo frames, in faded but beautiful condition and surviving from the zeniths of the eighteenth century.

The paintings are in stable overall order having been framed and glazed. The frames are good twentieth century examples in keeping with the style of the late eighteenth century. The overall condition of the artwork is faded, with one area of loss to one panel, and fading and scuffed wear to each; please refer to the photographs for a full visual reference. There are labels for JJ Patrickson of Chelsea, London to the reverses which was a very good framers of the period; they became Bourlet & Patrickson and were a National Portrait gallery framer.

Bird-and-flower motifs have a very long history in Chinese art and were already well established by the 10th century. In the 17th century, Chinese porcelain, silk and lacquer decorated with this kind of scenery began to make its way to north-western Europe, imported by the European ‘East India’ trading companies. Strong European demand then led to the production of Chinese luxury goods specifically for the western market. One of these hybrid products was pictorial Chinese wallpaper, which began to be imported into Europe in about 1750 and was often decorated with birds and flowers.

The first examples were woodblock-printed, but from the 1760s onwards they were fully hand-painted. In the 1790s the Guangzhou painting workshops began to introduce additional garden-related motifs to the bird-and-flower wallpapers, such as jardinières on stands and bird perches hung from the trees as we see in these examples.

A very pretty trio that are very much a distillation of the eighteenth century appetite for the romanticism of the far east.