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Back to main page Boxes Painted by Artists
 

The most delightfully fanciful vision of Cathay in a tea chest. 

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The particular group of boxes under discussion here, do not have overtly Scottish motifs, although there are sometimes thistles or acorns painted on them. One design which is typically Scottish, is the fine linear wavy pattern on the canisters inside a tea chest which features chinoiserie and floral decoration. This particular tea chest shares many characteristics which are shared with other boxes in this group and the pattern on the canisters  provides another link to Scottish work.

Tea canisters with wavy line decoration. 

The most delightfully fanciful vision of Cathay in a tea chest. The interior of the lid is painted with three oriental child clowns, standing on a platform made up of what looks like tea chests. Their costumes are more in the Turkish-Moorish fashion, except the hat of the central figure which is in typical chinoiserie of the inverted flowers variety favored by Pillement. It was a fad amongst European aristocracy to dress their own children in "Turkish" costumes. Unusually the building behind them is drawn in perspective, although the bridge in the distance is more in the tradition of chinoiserie. The enormous flower pot and the gigantic plant which looks as if it is the continuation of a metamorphic spout are influenced by French mid 18th century tradition. Pillement liked to dwarf his figures by shading them in enormous two dimensional plant life, although these youngsters are too solid looking for Pillement. The composition is most unusual in that it combines quite earthly looking elements with total fantasy. The painting is of exceptional quality, the vivid colors of the clothes and plants contrasting with the delicately shaded faces. A rare whimsical vision perfectly composed, placed and executed. 9" wide. Circa 1810.

The above is an extract from page 29 of Antique Boxes, Tea Caddies, and Society, 1700--1880 
Antigone Clarke &
Joseph O'Kelly, ISBN: 0764316885

 

 

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Clowning: Blowing Bubbles and Catching Bubbles tea chest Enlarge Picture

The interior of the lid is painted with three oriental child clowns, standing on a platform made up of what looks like tea chests. 

The boy clown standing on the chests is blowing bubbles which his friend tries to catch.

 

Detail of the exquisite flower painting. 
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All text and images and linked images are 1999-2005 Antigone Clarke and Joseph O'Kelly. If you require any further information on permitted use, or a licence to republish any material, email us at copyright@hygra.com