Chinese School c1770
Chinese School c1770
Chinese School c1770

Chinese School c1770

c. 1770 China

Offered by Cynthia Walmsley


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A rare portrait miniature of a young lady, perhaps on marriage wearing Chinese costume and beaded headdress. It is most unusual to see a Chinese portrait executed in watercolour on ivory emulating European style.

The lady is wearing an orange robe with blue collar and holding a fan. Her beaded headdress matches the colour of her robe and her hair style appears to be in the Chinese manner.

Watercolour on ivory in an oval gold frame with reeded edge.
With Philip Mould 2014.
Notes from Philip Mould Gallery:

"The style and flattened perspective of this portrait reflect that of traditional reverse glass painting. Although the artist is a present unknown, it is probable that they were practiced in this art and possibly attempting a new technique at the behest of their patron. The hand of the sitter, which in European painting may have been viewed as inaccurate, possibly shows an acquaintance with the traditional painting known as meiren hua (painting of a beauty) in which delicate women, often courtesans, were presented in relaxed and informal poses, their hands painted loosened and elongated. the lifted hand is also a gesture frequently found in later eighteenth century European portraits, including those that may have been available to the artist by Tilly Kettle.

The combination of style and technique shown in the portrait represents something of a unique combination of Chinese and European culture in portrait painting."
Height 5.00 cm (1.97 inches)
Width 4.00 cm (1.57 inches)
Stock Code
Watercolour on ivory.
Cynthia Walmsley

Cynthia Walmsley
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