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Watercolour Album.

Sixty-four illustrations of Chinese cultural life, its flora and avian fauna.

Stock Code 107536

Circa 1800].

Original price $58,713.00 - Original price $58,713.00
Original price $0.00
$58,713.00 - $58,713.00
Current price $58,713.00
China under the Qing dynasty. A remarkable collection of sixty-four fine large-format Chinese watercolours with subjects depicting tradesmen, flowers, and images combining both birds and flowers, in an exceptional green morocco binding elaborately tooled in gilt and blind with a Celtic Cross design by the Irish bookbinder George Mullen.

Designed for the export market, the watercolours offer a fascinating glimpse into Chinese cultural life during the Imperial Qing Dynasty. Trades and occupations depicted include wok mender, fortune teller, fishmonger, tailor, woman and monkey performer, tobacco cutter, meat vendor, clog maker, silk spinner, puppet show, metal worker, lantern maker, medicine vendor, rice grinder, umbrella maker, toy maker, grocer, and embroiderer.

Similar paintings by the Canton (Guangzhou) artist Pu-Qúa (fl.1780-1810) formed the basis of the 60 engravings illustrating George Henry Mason's The Costume of China published in 1804, and John Dadley produced stipple engravings after Pu-Qúa's originals which were published by William Miller in 1799. The remainder of the album is given over to the flora and avian fauna of the far east, including Chinese golden pheasants framed within a naturalistic setting, blossom-headed parakeets, woodcocks, varieties of orchid, rose, and jasmine.

Mullen (fl.1800-1850) was one of the most pre-eminent booksellers, publishers and binders operating in Ireland at the turn of the nineteenth century. From his Dublin studio he experimented with a variety of styles, using gilt and blind tooling to great effect on morocco, russia, and calf. Records show he ran a business of considerable size, counting the Marquess of Sligo among his clients. His work is identifiable here by his ticket which is neatly pasted to the upper left corner of the front free endpaper verso. Later he was joined in business by his son George, and John and Thomas Mullen are also listed as Dublin bookinders in the directories of the time.

Watercolour album; folio (55 x 37.5 cm); 64 watercolour illustrations heightened in white featuring tradesmen (23), flowers (17), and bird and flower (24) subjects, on pith paper (sheet size: approx. 41 x 31.5 cm each) laid down on thick grey paper, tissue guards, endpapers watermarked 'B E & S 1815'; an exceptional green morocco binding by George Mullen of Dublin with his ticket, the panels elaborately tooled in gilt and blind in a Celtic Cross design, spine gilt in six compartments, all edges gilt, inside dentelles gilt, endpapers with gilt vine borders, minor rubbing to joints and extremities, internally clean throughout.


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Watercolour Album.


Stock code: 107536



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