Face Screen in wood, decorated in penwork Chinoiserie. C. 1820.
is a delight. Nothing about it is real. Perspective is gone, reality has
morphed into something whimsically magical by the time it reached
from the East. The pictures are an attempt to depict
and bear witness to the eagerness to understand its culture from
travellers’ tales and drawings. The other-worldly quality comes
through, albeit the lack of accuracy. Perhaps the art work is more
charming on account of the imagination filling the gaps of first hand
one side two figures stand on a piece of land. The inspiration for this
is probably the famed “floating islands” in Chinese gardens referred
to in travellers’ accounts. The flowering tree is a botanical oddity,
as are the tiny palms and the huge daisy. But then
(the East) is full of miracles. There is another floating island in the
the oriental figures, complete with pointed hat or pigtail on their way
to a game?
the other side there are two islands, one with a temple, the other, with
a pavilion on a rock which looks ready to fly! A crowded boat sails on
the water. The scene is framed
in an elaborate arrangement of stylised flora. This way of fine line
drawing of leaves and flowers was popular in penwork, although it was
not always combined with Chinoiserie.
handle is in turned wood.
UK ; Circa:1820 ;
Size: Screen 23 cm
wide (widest point) by18cm (centre); handle 23.4 cm long: 9 inches
wide by 7 inches; handle 9.1 inches.
refer to the above photographs for details of condition.