Tea house, Shanghai

MORTIMER MENPES RI RBA RE (1860-1938)

Tea house, Shanghai

c. 1900 China

Offered by Martyn Gregory Gallery

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Born in Adelaide, Mortimer Luddington Menpes moved to London in 1875 with his parents. In 1878 he enrolled at the School of Art in London; in 1880 he became the pupil of James McNeill Whistler, who remained a major influence on his work. In 1887 he made his first visit to Japan, and returned to decorate his Cadogan Gardens house in a Japanese style. In the following years he travelled extensively in the Far East, Europe and north Africa, and covered the Boer War in South Africa.
Celebrated both as a painter and as a printmaker, Menpes reached a wide public through a series of illustrated travel books published between 1901 and 1918 by A. and C. Black; for seven of these he supplied the text himself, while seven others had text by his daughter Dorothy, including The World in Pictures (1902) in which the present work is illustrated. Its subject is the Yu Yuan gardens in the old city of Shanghai. Founded in the Ming dynasty, these gardens contain intricate multi-roofed pavilions and rockwork linked by zigzag bridges; they are depicted here by Menpes before their extensive rebuilding in the twentieth century.
For a number of his pictures Menpes designed his own distinctive frames, which were made by Japanese craftsmen with broad expanses of ribbed wood, sometimes covered with canvas or silk.
M.E. Rich; sold Sotheby’s 1978; private collection; Liss Fine Art
Illustrated: M. and M. Menpes, The World in Pictures, 1902, opp. p. 264
Engraved: drypoint etching 20 x 25.5 cm, 1906-8, illd. in Gary Morgan, The Etched Works of Mortimer Menpes, vol 2, 2012, 84, no. 258
Dimensions
Height 31.80 cm (12.52 inches)
Width 39.40 cm (15.51 inches)
Stock Code
VH708
Medium
Oil and gouache on board
Signed/Inscribed
‘Mortimer Menpes’
Martyn Gregory Gallery

Martyn Gregory Gallery
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St James's
London
SW1Y 6AU
England

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