New collector: Botanical prints

Editorial Staff Art

Although the earliest surviving illustrated botanical manuscript dates from AD 512-the Vienna Dioscurides, a copy of the important medical treatise by the first-century Greek physician and herbalist Pedanius Dioscurides-botanical illustration as a distinctive artistic genre developed in the fifteenth century with the rise of illustrated herbals, manuscripts explaining the medicinal and culinary uses of plants and flowers. After all, in …

Chinese botanical paintings for the export market

aroseshapiro Art

By Karina H. Corrigan; from The Magazine ANTIQUES, June 2004. A single stem of chrysanthemum explodes off the page shown in Plate I. This exquisite Chinese export painting was executed abut 1823, two years after this variety of chrysanthemum, the so-called quilled orange, had been introduced into English gardens.1 Chinese plants were first brought to Europe in the late seventeenth century, but …

Ebony and Ivory

Editorial Staff Art

Western in form and Indian in materials and ornamen­tation, this sumptuous ebony and ivory chair testifies to the artistic, cultural, and political complexities of life in southern India in the third quarter of the eighteenth century. Elevated seating was not a typical part of traditional Indian culture. Indians typically ate, socialized, and conducted business on rugs or thin mat­tresses while …

Talking past and present

Editorial Staff Art, Furniture & Decorative Arts

The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, may be this country’s oldest continuing museum…or it may not be. Given its other distinctions, that hardly matters. Founded in 1799 by the wealthy entrepreneurs of Salem whose merchant ships sailed to India, Japan, Africa, China, the Pacific Islands, and beyond, it began with the curious idea of presenting the citizens of Salem …

Margrieta van Varick’s East Indian goods

Editorial Staff Furniture & Decorative Arts

September 2009 | At the time of her death in 1695 in the bucolic village of Flatbush, New York, the textile merchant Margrieta van Varick (nee Visboom, 1649-1695), the widow of the minister Rudolphus van Varick (1645-1694), owned an astonishing array of exotic goods from around the world: Chinese porcelain, Turkish carpets, Japanese lacquerwork, ebony chairs, Dutch paintings, Indonesian cabinets, …