Wishes Come True – The Final Beauty Descends

In the entry A Gusu Beauty Appears hopes were expressed for the missing fourth print in the tetraptych of Literati Pursuits to appear at an auction sale, mainly so that it could be added to the collection. Well, an auction in New York in September 2018 featured just this print and my wish came true.

The print shows three boys squatting around a chess board while a fourth boy huddles behind his onlooking mother. The scene takes place in a garden, in front of the railing with lion finials, which is also seen in the other three prints. The needed tree is to the right, together with a taihu rock.

Compared with the other three prints comprising the tetraptych, this one is in bad condition, being dirty and stained. It has been cut down on all four sides (95.2 x 54.6cm), the paper has browned and the colours have faded. There are plenty of old repairs and some in-painting. It is most likely that the print has been exposed on a wall, either as a wallpaper or as a picture.

However, the print is unique and it was impossible to resist adding it to the collection in order to complete this, the second such tetraptych of Gusu Beauties. For the first tetraptych see Suzhou Beauties Formats

According to information given, the print was acquired in Europe, possibly in the 1970s or 1980s.

Now, the wish is for a better example of the print to appear somewhere. Never lose hope!

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Dates for Wang Junfu 王君甫

Recently, a map entitled Da Ming Jiubian Wanguo Renji Lucheng Quantu 大明九边万国人迹路程全图 “The Routes to Great Ming from All Nations”, ca. 120×120 cm., came to light.

Of interest is the fact that it is signed in upper left part and dated: Kangxi ernian guimao shangyuan jidan 康熙二年癸卯上元吉旦 and Gusu Wang Junfu faxing 姑蘇王君甫發行. Second year of Kangxi reign, ie 1663.

Date and signature

Date and signature

Wang Junfu was an artist/printer who has signed four other prints:

1) Wanguo Lai Chao 万国来朝 All Nations Coming to Court. 39,3×59,6 cm (paper sheet). British Museum, 1920,1216,0.1.

Wanguo Laichao - All Nations Coming to Court

Wanguo Laichao – All Nations Coming to Court

Same signature as on the map: Gusu Wang Junfu fa xing 故蘇王君甫發行

2) Ershiba Sunao Kunyang 二十八宿闹昆阳 Twenty-eight Generals at Kunyang. 37,7×58,9 cm. Private collection, Japan.

Ershiba Sunao Kunyang  - Twenty-eight Generals at Kunyang

Ershiba Sunao Kunyang – Twenty-eight Generals at Kunyang

Signed Wang Junfu fa xing 王君甫發行

3) Shen Wansan Jubaopen Tu 沈萬三聚寶盆圖 Shen Wansan’s Treasure Bowl. 37,8×58,8 cm. Tenri Library.

Shen Wan san Ju bao pen Tu 沈萬三聚寶盆圖

Shen Wan san Ju bao pen Tu 沈萬三聚寶盆圖

Signed Wang Junfu fa xing 王君甫發行

4) San Zang Xi Tian Qu Jing 三藏西天取經 Scenes from Monk San Zang’s Pilgrimage to the West. 39,2 x 59,8 cm. Dresden Kupferstichkabinett. This print was first inventoried in 1738.

Sān zàng xī tiān qǔ jīng 三藏西天取經

Sān zàng xī tiān qǔ jīng 三藏西天取經

Signed Wang Junfu fa ke  王君甫發客

The four signatures are different in style and position:

in 1) it is within a cartouche in the middle of the left inner margin and with Gusu mentioned;

in 2) within a cartouche in the lower left inner margin;

in 3) in the lower left inner margin, but without cartouche;

and in 4) boldly printed in the lower left part of the print.

Two of the prints have a printed black border (1 and 2). The title of the image is printed within a framed rectangle on the upper part of the print, two are centred close to the upper margin (1 and 2; same prints which have a printed border), the other two are placed left and right of centre, 4) is within the image. The printed image is roughly 38,5×59 cm, and with colours applied by printing blocks.

Among the extant prints, few carry Kangxi reign dates. Thanks to the 1663 dating on the map we are able to ascertain that Wang Junfu was active during this period. The style, format and subject of Wang’s prints are similar to prints by other artists, and, consequently, a Kangxi date can be attributed to those other prints.

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A Gusu Beauty Appears

It has been rewarding to research the prints to which I have given the name Gusu Beauties, Gusu being today’s Suzhou, and such prints depicting a beautiful and elegant lady involved in various pursuits — reading, painting, writing, etc. or just contemplating boys playing at her feet. See Suzhou print 1 onwards through Suzhou print 9. These eighteenth-century prints have appeared in auction sales, at dealers and are hanging on walls in mansions and castles around Europe. The richest source is of course Esterházy Palace in Eisenstadt, Austria. No examples of such prints with any provenance are extant in China or Japan.

Perhaps the most exciting finding was that four of these prints together formed one continuous scene, a tetraptych, the first occurrence of this format in Chinese printmaking.

Tetraptych consisting of prints Nos. 2, 5, 8 & 1

Tetraptych consisting of prints Nos. 2, 5, 8 & 1

The reader will remember that there were two further prints in the series which formed a pair — Beauty 3 and Beauty 4.

Beauty 3

Beauty 3

Beauty 4

Beauty 4

and perhaps the thought that these two prints were also part of a tetraptych might have occured. As fate had it, a print appeared recently in a provincial auction sale in Belgium, catalogued as belonging to the nineteenth century. It undoubtedly represents print number 4 in such a tetraptych.

Gusu Beauty no. 11

Beauty 11

The common details linking the images together are the balustrade and the lion finials, the garden setting, the tree with its overhead crown of foliage, and a lady accompanied by four young boys. It is also obvious that these prints form a group showing the pursuits of the literati scholar: qin, qi, shu, hua 琴,棋,書,畫 or music, chess, calligraphy/reading, and painting. The calligraphy scene is represented by a lady with a book, the character shu 書 is interchangeable for calligraphy and book. Thanks to this we also now know what the missing second from right print should look like: a lady with four boys, a balustrade with lion filials, a tree trunk on the right, and a wei qi chess board, possibly being played by two of the boys.

So far I have no knowledge that such a chess-playing print is extant anywhere, but I am optimistic about it appearing somewhere, either on some castle or manor wall, or in a drawer in a library/museum, or even better, at least for me, in some auction sale.

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Three Gusu Prints in the Round

Three small Gusu (Suzhou) prints in my collection show influences from Western prints. All three are round prints, a rather unusual format, circa 25 cm in diameter. No other prints of this kind have been documented or published. The first shows four figures respectfully greeting two figures arriving on a boat, one an elderly bearded sage holding a tall staff, with five tassels hanging from it, and the other younger and smaller, perhaps an assistant. Both wear black headgears in the style of wushamao 烏紗帽, the hat worn by Ming officials, with flaps standing straight out and up, like ‘Mickey Mouse’ ears. The younger fellow’s hat however lacks the upright flap at the back.

Round Gusu print with Christian(?) motif. Author’s collection. Diameter 27 cm.

Three of the adoring figures are of Central Asian origin judging from their dress and hair styles, not unlike those of tribute carriers seen in some Suzhou prints. The two bald headed front-most figures offer coral branches while the third figure raises his joined hands under his sleeves. This last man wears an elaborate hat and a bushy beard. The fourth figure is Chinese and female, she also raises her hands under her sleeves. Her ornate headdress features two long peacock feathers. Maybe she represents Magu, 麻姑 the Daoist immortal, offering longevity. Coral branch (珊瑚 shanhu) and peacock feathers (花翎 hualing) can also symbolize May you achieve the highest official rank (翎頂輝煌 lingding huihuang or 紅頂花翎 hongding hualing).

There is apparently a message in this print, but the correct reading is difficult. What is the meaning of depicting Central Asian figures? Why the Chinese female? Why revive a Ming-style hat? Who are the persons wearing these hats?  My initial impression to this print was that it was Christian. The italianate buildings in the background on the other side of the water is clearly a European pastiche, the wushamao is similar to the hat worn by Matteo Ricci’s most important convert, Paul Hsu, as illustrated in Athanasius Kircher’s China monumentis…illustrata, 1667.

Image result for nieuhof embassy

Matteo Ricci and Xu Guangqi (Paul Hsu 徐光啓) Li Yingshi (李应试, Li Paul). Engraving from Athanasius Kircher’s China monumentis…illustrata, 1667.

The bearded person on the arriving boat is of biblical magnitude and stature. What we have here is is possibly a piece of surreptitious Christian propaganda, showing how the arrival of the faith by boat is welcomed by all people of Asia.

Pair of Gusu prints signed by Yüfeng Guan Lian 玉峰管聯. Author’s collection. Diameter 24,4 / 24 cm.

The second and third prints are more secular in spirit and perhaps form a pair, considering they have the arches of a tower building in common. The round openings are also showing the inner edges of the wall through which we see the scenes. In the right-hand print we see the right inner edge and for the left we see the left inner edge, as if we were standing in front, between the prints, and looking at them right and left. Or is it as seen through a pair of binoculars, although this would be a very early use in China of such instrument? The right-hand print’s edge has been cross-hatched, just as in the Christian print above. Another Western feature in these prints is the perspective angles of the motifs: in the left-hand print the angle of the lines run towards the right, and in the right-hand print towards the left. The colours of these two prints look as if applied later, perhaps in Europe. The faces are painted pink, with red markings on chin, mouth and nose, and the eyes are small crossed dots, all features uncommon for Chinese colouring of prints.

The left print shows an arched bridge over which some riders are preparing to cross. On the other bank and in the background are some buildings. The right-hand print, besides the half-arch of a tower, shows a pailou 牌樓, a three-arched gate, by the bank of a lake. Some boats are moored on the bank, one being discharged of its cargo. In the distant background is seen another bridge and some buildings. Birds fly in scattered formations in the sky in both prints.

The inscription on the left print reads: Yüfeng Guan Lian bi 玉峰管聯筆 and on the right: Yüfeng Guan Lian xie yu Yanyunxuan 玉峰管聯寫於硯雲軒, which translates to Brushed by Guan Lian from Yüfeng and Written in the Ink-stone Cloud Studio by Guan Lian from Yüfeng. Traditionally Yüfeng 玉峰, Jade Peak, is associated with the Imperial Summer Palace in Beijing, but we can assume that Guan Lian was not from there, but from some other place with the similar name in Zhejiang. We know of two other occurrences where Guan Lian has signed prints: the Han Gong Chunxiao (汉宫春晓 View of Han Palace in Early Spring) and Afang Gongtu (阿房宫圖 Afang Palace).


Han Gong Chunxiao 汉宫春晓 View of Han Palace in Early Spring. Author’s collection. 30×30 cm.

Machida 參9

Afang Palace. Umi Mori Art Museum, Japan. 64×38,5 cm.

The Han Gong Chunxiao was discussed earlier in this blog ([More on West Lake Panorama]). In all four of these inscribed prints we see the same bare mountains, often striated to give volume and perspective, the similar formations of open-V flying birds, and the somewhat sprawling writing. Three of the prints start with the same six characters 玉峰管聯寫於 but then the last three differs: 硯雲軒, 研雲居, and 雲水閣 (Yanyunxuan Ink-stone Cloud Studio, Yanyunju Cloud Research Home, and Yunshuige Cloudy Lake Pavilion). In all cases yun, cloud, is involved and some kind of abode is implied. Yanyun is used twice, but with different characters for yan. Guan Lian was perhaps a humorous artist amusing himself by signing with the same sounding characters but always with different meaning. We need to find more prints by him to verify this theory. There is an occurence of Guan Lian’s name in the 杭州府志 (Hangzhou Gazetteer, Qianlong edition). He is named as a military official, from Haining County, Zhejiang Province, so presumably a different Guan Lian from our artist although with the same characters.

The Afang Palace and the Han Palace are signed in the margin by Guan Ruiyü 管瑞玉, who we have seen also designed the West Lake Panorama, the Pingyuan Weilie, and the series of Gusu Beauties discussed earlier in this blog. Accordingly, it is very tempting to attribute the two round prints signed Guan Lian to this same Guan Ruiyü. After all, Guan Lian might just be another name, a zi, for Guan Ruiyü. While we are speculating, we might as well assume that the round Christian print was also executed by Guan Ruiyü for two reasons: the round format, the cross-hatching of the edge in the opening, and the fact that this print was bought at an auction sale together with Han Gong Chunxiao. I readily admit that the latter is very speculative but it would not be impossible that Guan Ruiyü gave or sold these two prints to some European, who then brought them to Europe where they remained together until they surfaced in the auction sale. Unfortunately, it is not possible to find out anything about the provenance of the prints, sadly a general trait for most Chinese prints. A Western pen has written C7.inv(?) and C8.inv(?) in the margin and p.2.2. on the back of the prints, so maybe they have belonged to a larger set in an European collection.

The above mentioned smaller-sized prints, including the West Lake Panorama prints and the Afang Palace, together with some prints at the Kupferstich-Kabinett in Dresden, comprise a group of Gusu prints executed in various tones of black and grey in imitation of copper engravings or grisaille prints. This was done intentionally in order to give the prints a Western flavour and thus satisfy the strong demand at the time for images in the European style. Judging by the number of prints extant with this trait, the fashion and fancy for such prints was considerable. The fortuitous fact that the Dresden prints were inventoried 1738 gives us a rough idea of the date of all these prints.

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More on West Lake Panorama

Anita Wang, Wang Xiaoming, has pointed out some mistakes in my previous entry and has also contributed some very pertinent information which warrants an article of its own.


I made a mistake in transcribing the signature on the print of the Afang Palace, writing gu su shi jia juan guan rui yü cang ban 姑蘇史家管瑞玉藏板 whereas it should be gu su shi jia xiang guan rui yü cang ban 姑蘇史家管瑞玉藏板. Now corrected.

Umi Art Museum should read Umi Mori Art Museum, now corrected.

Anita’s Comments

These are Anita’s words, with slight editing on my part:

“According to the Suzhou Gazetteer, Suzhou Fuzhi苏州府志, Shijia xiang 史家巷 was the name of a street located in central Suzhou nearby Daxin xiang 大新巷 Church, and this indicates the influence of Catholic activity in the area.

Map of Suzhou

Map of central Suzhou

Furthermore, in the collection of the Umi Mori Art Museum another print, which forms the pair with the print Afang Palace, has the following written on the top: Yufeng Guanlian Xieyu Yanyun Ju 玉峰管联写于研云居

Machida 參9

Left part of Afang Palace

Machida 參9 - Version 2

Text on top of Afang Palace print

The print Hangong Palace 汉宫春晓图 in your collection has a similar inscription Yufeng Guanlian Xieyu Yunshui Ge 玉峰管联写于云水阁 which indicates Yanyun Ju 研云居 and Yunshui Ge 云水阁 are possibly both the workshops of the artist Guanlian 管联, and Guanlian might be the courtesy name of Guan Ruiyu 管瑞玉.”

I think these observations give us a broader perspective on the activities of the print studios, and geographically anchors Guan Ruiyü’s studio around the corner from the main Taohuawu Street.

Anita continues to write:

“I think these black and white prints were not the complete version selling in Chinese market, they were meant to be painted with colours like the print Pingyuan Weilie (平原圍獵).


Pingyuan Weilie

In Chinese tradition, the uncoloured prints were definitely not popular to be used as the house wall decorations, they were possibly only bought by European merchants.”

Also a very interesting observation. Presumably an uncoloured print would be cheaper to purchase than a coloured one.

Dating of the Chaloner prints

We do not have the benefit of a date on the Chaloner or Douce prints, but if one is allowed to make a comparison with another print in a private Japanese collection we arrive to about the 1730s. This print, entitled tai xi wu ma tu 泰西五马图 or Western Picture of Five Horses, shows all the same traits as the Chaloner and Douce prints – view of West Lake, similar size, western style copper engraving imitation, etc.

Taibei83-Taixi wuma tu

Western Picture of Five Horses

This print is dated 壬子, which is equivalent to the 10th year of the yongzheng reign, or 1732. It should be mentioned that a Japanese exhibition catalogue dates this print to 17921 but I believe, as do two recent Chinese publications2, that it belongs to the first half of the eighteenth century.

Thank you, Anita, and I hope to receive more comments and contributions from other readers.

  1. Aoki, S., Kobayashi, H., & Machida Shiritsu Kokusai Hanga Bijutsukan. (1995). “Chūgoku no yōfūga” ten: Minmatsu kara Shin jidai no kaiga, hanga, sashiebon. Tōkyō-to Machida-shi: Machida Shiritsu Kokusai Hanga Bijutsukan. 中国の洋風画」展:明末から清時代の絵画、版画、挿絵本, 東京:町田市立国際版 画美術館, item 122. ↩︎
  2. 中国木版年画集成·日本藏品卷, p.112 and 康乾盛世-蘇州版, p.26 ↩︎
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A West Lake Panorama Discovered in UK Collection

Thanks to Helen Clifford and Emile de Bruijn I recently became aware of some Chinese woodblock prints ‘found’ in the North Yorkshire County Record Office. This find, combined with the Douce prints in the Bodleian Library discussed in Three Rediscovered Gusu Prints, reinforces my belief that more such material is still awaiting discovery and identification in archives and collections around Europe.

These ‘new’ prints (hereafter referred to as the Chaloner prints), have affinity with the Douce prints on several counts. The most obvious is that they emanate from two British collections of the mid-nineteenth century (Douce not later than 1834, Chaloner before 1884) although the prints themselves are of mid-eighteenth century origin.

The Chaloner Prints

The prints are part of a collection with the reference ZFM, which relates to the Chaloner family of Guisborough.  A folio containing the prints has been labelled (hand-written in ink) ‘Chinese wallpaper brought back by Admiral Chaloner’. There is no documentation relating to this material nor is it known exactly how it came to be in North Yorkshire.

Admiral Thomas Chaloner (1815-1884) entered the Royal Navy in 1827. However, the catalogue of the Chaloner collection does not include any item indicating that he travel to China or East Asia. We might conclude that Admiral Chaloner acquired the prints from a secondary source in Europe. The Douce Collection entered the Bodleian Library upon the death of Frances Douce in 1834. The three prints in his collection are very much in the same vein and format as the Chaloner prints and one wonders if there is not a link between the two gentlemen and that they shared the spoils from a common source?

On this topic, Emile de Bruijn has commented that “It is interesting to note that Admiral Chaloner’s mother was the Hon. Frances Laura Dundas (d.1844), who was the granddaughter of Sir Lawrence Dundas (1710–1781), who is known to have had Asian collections. Perhaps these prints therefore came from the Dundases, perhaps even originally acquired by Sir Lawrence?” Certainly Sir Lawrence’s dates are contemporary with those of the prints. More research might yield interesting conclusions.

It is most unlikely that, what in China were occasional and very temporary prints from the mid-eighteenth century, would still be available there for westerners to purchase in the nineteenth century. I think that the Douce and the Chaloner prints arrived in Europe in the mid-eighteenth century, perhaps intended as wall decorations but never used, and later came on the antique market. To my knowledge there are no extant examples of these type of prints having been used as wallpaper or wall decoration.

Description of the prints

There are four relevant images in the folio. The prints are woodblock printed in shades of black from two or more woodblocks, in the city of Suzhou, or Gusu as the old name reads, and dateable to the 1740-60s. All four depict scenery at the famous West Lake in Hangzhou. Each sheet measures c.38x58cm and none are coloured. Each print has a black borderline around the image. The size, the style, the black border, all are common with the Douce prints.

Three of the Chaloner prints are to-date unique, and have never been published before. Only one of the prints, the Leifengta, has a twin in a private collection, Japan.

Print 1 Melting Snow at Broken Bridge

Broken Bridge. Chaloner collection

This first print illustrates the fourth scene of the Ten Views of West Lake, i.e. Melting Snow at Broken Bridge or Duanqiao 斷橋殘雪. Two riders on horseback are preparing to cross the famous bridge, on which a gentleman sits resting. Other buildings can seen in the background. On the outer bottom right margin is a cartouche with printer’s signature.

No other example of this print is known. However, it bears a close resemblance to print no. 2 in the Douce collection.


Broken Bridge. Douce collection

Print 2 Autumn Moon Over Calm Lake


Listening to Orioles. Chaloner collection

The title of the print, Ping Hu Qiu Yue 平湖秋月, is written on a stele in front of the donkey-pulling boy at the far right. Predominately a lake view, with a complex of buildings. In the background can be seen a pagoda, a three-arched pailou gate, and in the distance a three-character inscription on each of the mountain side. On the outer bottom left margin is a cartouche with printer’s signature.

Print 3 Three Stupas Mirroring the Moon


Three Stupas. Chaloner collection

In the foreground a pavilion by the lake, on the top floor of which is a gaming couple and people at leisure. In the middle of the lake can be seen the three stone stupas or lanterns, the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, 三潭印月. In the background, the Su Causeway, Sudi 蘇堤, with two of its six bridges.

No other example of this print is known.

Print 4 Sunset Glow at Leifeng Pagoda


Leifeng Pagoda. Chaloner collection

Known as the seventh View, 雷峯夕照. Shows the ruins of the Leifengta or Thunder Peak Pagoda, which finally collapsed in 1924. There are also other temple buildings, pavilions, and a bell tower. Some of the buildings carry text with their names. In the background the Su Causeway with coolies and a horse rider. Three boats are on the lake, in the foreground a father flies a kite with his son.

Hitherto, only one example of this print was known, in a private Japanese collection, illustrated below.

Taipei83-Xihu Fengjing zhi Leifeng

Leifeng Pagoda. Japanese collection

Ten Views of West Lake

The four prints illustrate some of the famous scenes collectively known since the thirteenth century as Ten Views of West Lake, Xihu Shi Jing 西湖十景. The order of the views as well as the names have changed over the centuries, but even today tourists at West Lake are visiting and enjoying these views, some of them now literal since the building connected with the view is no longer extant, for example the ruins of Leifeng Pagoda, today replaced by a monstrous pastiche. A fair number of eighteenth century Suzhou prints survive, giving us a good idea of the enormous popularity of Ten Views. There are single prints encompassing all ten views, there are others where two prints jointly show the ten views, and now, thanks to the Chaloner prints, we have an example of how four prints combined to form one consecutive panorama of West Lake, and more than likely displaying more than the four scenes used here as headings for the individual prints.

Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 09.58.35

I have earlier discussed the combination of four prints to form one consecutive scene, but that example, unique in itself, consisted of large, c. 100×50 cm, vertical sheets intended for a screen or a large wall space. The Chaloner prints introduce a new, more intimate format and the possibility to mount the prints as a hand-scroll, imitating a painting scroll. They could also have been used as decoration in the smaller wall panels ubiquitous in houses in southern China, a usage suggested by the writing on the wrapping containing the prints today. The Douce prints could have been parts of a similar series, in which case those held in the Bodleian Library are the first and last prints in the panorama, although the Leifeng scene is viewed from a different angle to the Chaloner print.

Signatures on the prints

The first two prints, moving from right to left in the Chinese manner, bear signature colophons or cartouches in the margins, the first print in the lower right margin and the second in the lower left margin.

4 detail

Signature on print 4 Broken Bridge. Chaloner collection

These two signature are identical in text: across the top xin de hao 信德號, and underneath, written vertically in two columns, from right to left : gu su guan rui yü ding xi xi yang hua fa ke 姑蘇管瑞玉頂細西洋畫發客 roughly meaning: Xinde Studio, Guan Ruiyü, artist’s name, from Gusu, old name for Suzhou, produced this finely-executed western style picture, stating it was influenced by western perspective and technique of copper engravings. The text of the cartouche as well as its design are also features that we have not seen before. The design with a studio name printed horizontally within a rectangle and then vertical text contained in another rectangle below is unique to these two prints.

As for dingxi this term has not occurred on any other print and its meaning is most finely (engraved or painted). This expression is still used in the Hangzhou and Suzhou area. Xiyanghua 西洋畫 is also the first occurrence of this term in a signature, meaning western, or western-style, printing or painting. It is a direct acknowledgement of the influence western prints were having on Chinese printing at that time. The combined meaning of dingxi xiyanghua is boasting that these prints are finely cut in the foreign style compared to other prints in the usual Chinese style.

Guan Ruiyü is known as a signatory to other prints. One such print (in the Umi Art Museum in Japan) is the left part of a pair showing the Afang Palace,  阿房宫图, where it is signed gu su shi jia xiang guan rui yü cang ban 姑蘇史家巷管瑞玉藏板:

Machida 參8

Afang Palace. Umi Mori Art Museum, Japan

Machida 參8-1

Detail of signature Afang Palace

Another print, in my collection, shows the Hangong Palace and is signed gu su guan rui yü cang ban 姑蘇管瑞玉藏板 in the outer right margin:


Hangong Palace. Muban collection

A third print entitled Pingyuan Weilie 平原圍獵, signed in the outer right margin gu su guan rui yü cang ban(?) 姑蘇官瑞玉藏板, (last character unclear), is in my collection and in the Museum für Asiatische Kunst, Berlin:


Pingyuan Weilie. Author’s collection

A fourth, represented in Chateau Filiéres, in Schloss Esterhazy and in my collection. More details on this print to be found at Suzhou Print 8:


Lady with child. Author’s collection

The first two prints, with their grisaille palate, linear design, perspective and strong influence-imitation of western engravings are similar in style. The last two fall outside this style.

The fourth print, the one with the lady holding a child in her arms, forms a pair with this print, also in Chateau Filiéres, Schloss Esterhazy and my collection:



This print is signed, on the panel hanging behind the lady’s head, gusu xindehao  姑蘇信德號, Xinde studio in Suzhou. Until now, this was the only occurrence of this signature but the two signed prints in the Chaloner collection has increased this three-fold and also firmly connected the studio name Xindehao with the printer/artist Guan Ruiyü. For more information on this print, please refer to Suzhou Print 1.

Usage of the prints

Far too little is known regarding the usage of such prints in China at the time they were issued. The most plausible theory is that they were used to decorate the walls of the houses. Prints like Ten Views of West Lake could also have been such decorations but also as mementos of a visit to West Lake, and, as we have seen in the Chaloner prints, could be mounted as a picture scroll to treasure as a memory and to show to family and friends.

It is becoming more and more apparent that the majority of Chinese prints in Europe were mainly imported for two reasons: to satisfy the curiosity of natural scientists and, later and in larger quantities, for decorating the walls of inner chambers in palaces and mansions, and thereby helping meet the great demands of the fashion for chinoiserie that permeated Europe in the mid-18th century.


In the Chaloner prints we see for the first time a type of print that was published as a series, in this case in a series of four, which, when combined together, form a continuous horizontal scene, well suited for mounting as a landscape scroll. We know that Suzhou prints were intentionally coloured to give the impression of silk and thus imitate a painting, but these have mainly been of the vertical, hanging scroll type.

Guan Ruiyü’s signature, combined with the mention of Xinde Studio, reinforce his connection with this particular studio or workshop, about which not else much is known other than it issued some of the most exquisite prints. We now have two more examples of its output. The signatures on the Chaloner prints also evidence the fad in Suzhou to imitate western techniques and western perspective in prints and paintings, a kind of reversed chinoiserie, europerie, Undoubtedly popular in China at the time.

We can but regret the lack of information on their export from China, by whom and for whom, and their story until they were acquired by Admiral Chaloner almost a century later. As research in Chinese printmaking expands and develops we will hopefully be able to chart the passage of such prints from the place origin in China to palaces and collections in Europe, a still obscure journey.

Posted in china, chinese prints, printing, prints, Suzhou prints, Wallpaper, woodblock | 1 Comment

A Gusu Beauty Hiding in a Swedish Chest

As lamented in the previous entry of this blog, my claim to fame, as far as Gusu Beauties was concerned, was shaken. However, it has recently been given an enormous boost from a most unexpected object.

A few months ago I was contacted by Staffan Haegermark, a major Swedish collector of Dalecarlian traditional wooden horses, who told me he had in his possession a marine chest which might interest me. Not so much the chest, but what was pasted inside the lid: a print of Gusu Beauty No. 8. Not only was this a unique placement for a Gusu Beauty print, or any eighteenth-century Chinese print for that matter (to my knowledge, I should add), but it was also the missing print of a group of nine.

The chest has a modern auction history and an older story, unfortunately vague and undocumented. It was acquired by Staffan from a man who bought it at auction in Åmål some four years previously. The vendor at this auction had in his turn bought the chest in the middle of the 1990s at an estate auction of the Reuter sisters in Långserud in the province of Värmland. According to a not so old typewritten note in the chest it had been in the possession of the Hall family in Gothenburg, among whom John Hall the Elder was a very prominent figure.

John Hall the Elder, merchant and entrepreneur, was the richest man in Gothenburg when, in 1778, he bought the old Gunnebo Castle at Mölndal near Gothenburg. What is more interesting for us in this context is that his father-in-law was Anders Gothén (1719-1794), A Supercargo in the Swedish East India Company. Gothén made numerous travels to China and East India as Supercargo on the ships of the Swedish company, no less than 10 journeys between 1743 and 1780, more than any other known individual. [Comment 2016-06-05: It has not been possible to find any evidence that this chest ever was in the possession of John Hall the Elder. There is no record of it in any inventory list or other documentation.]

On ships of the Swedish East India Company (1731–1813), the Supercargo represented the company and was in charge of all matters related to trade, while the captain was in charge of navigation, loading and unloading of cargo as well as the maintenance of the ship. Having the highest rank aboard the ship, the Supercargo also received the highest salary. In addition to this he received six percent of the value of the cargo the ship brought home. Every person onboard had the right to buy, bring home goods and sell them back in Sweden. The amount of goods permitted was regulated by the person’s rank aboard the ship and his financial means. At the top of this list was the Supercargo. According to a decree of 1753 the clerks could fill the chests in their cabins with their own goods and the remaining space in the cabin up to 3 feet. There is no mention on how many chests an individual was allowed, but presumably one each. The Supercargo, having high and privileged rank, was certainly allowed more than one chest.

Front view

Front view

Rear view

Rear view

Side view, with handle, tapering shape, and bevelled lid, protruding at the back and side

Side view, with handle, tapering shape, and bevelled lid, protruding at the back and side

The chest itself is of a type called Hallandskista, manufactured in the southwestern province of Halland, and typical of its kind – a bevelled lid with gable pieces protruding beyond the body of chest and iron hinges mounted inside the lid. The chest tapers slightly towards the bottom, with a protruding base. The wood is pine, painted and marbled. The joints are interlocking and the lid has wooden pegs instead of iron nails. The support underneath the base are two wooden skids across the length. Perhaps this facilitated the moving and transport of a heavy chest. Between the skids can be seen a punched-in a cross, perhaps a protection against thieves or bad spirits?

Skids and cross (upper middle). Note back edge of lid where print has worn away and the punched-in cross

Underside with skids. Note back edge of lid where print has worn away and below, on the top board, the punched-in cross

The dimensions, in cm, are: length 120, width 59, height 66, 53 without the skids. The lid measures 127×63 cm on the outside, and 118×61 on the inside. The original key and lock is now lost, and was replaced or enforced by an iron sleeve for a padlock at some later time.

The chest was manufactured around 1750 or slightly later, to judge by the rococo decorative pattern on the front of the chest. We see a crest with two Fs as a mirrored monogram in red and surrounded by a laurel wreath with red berries and tulips, and a bow knot as a finial to the wreath. The crest is framed by a rocaille-pattern.

Decoration in form of a crest

Decoration in form of a crest

Mirrored Fs and detail of decoration

Mirrored Fs and detail of decoration

This crest can not be attributed to a particular family, but was a common decorative motif for chests in general. This information kindly contributed by Ulla-Karin Warberg, curator at the Nordiska Museet in Stockholm.

My initial reaction, when seeing the monogram, was the similarity to the logo of the Dutch East India Company,  VOC, but I am now certain that there is no relation.

Disregarding the purported origin and previous history of the chest, the fact remains that someone at some point pasted a Chinese woodblock print inside the lid of a Swedish chest, either for decorative purposes or for practical reasons: to keep dust out.

The print is known from other examples in Château de Filières and the Small China Salon at Esterhàzy Palace so we know that other copies of this particular print were shipped to Europe. Previously in this blog I have described this print and named it as Gusu Beauty No. 8.

There are two main highlights of this print: the freshness of the colours (obviously it has never been exposed to light for any length of time), and its format.

View of open lid

View of open lid

This is the only print, again to my knowledge, that has some margins of the paper sheet left intact, all other extant prints have been cut down to or within the picture border. The upper margin here measures between 60-63 mm and the right margin 20 mm, but this latter might have been cut down to fit inside the lid.

Detail of upper and side margins

Detail of upper and side margins

The left margin protruded beyond the body of the chest and most of it has been worn away. The bottom part of the print has been torn away and we do not know the measurements of the bottom margin, but in accordance to Chinese proportions, this margin was probably smaller than the upper margin. The print was never lined or backed, so we can see that the original paper is of a rather thick and sturdy quality. Further detailed study of the paper is required.

Bottom part of print showing iron hinge and missing part

Bottom part of print showing iron hinge and missing part

Although the print is much damaged due to use of the chest (for example the protruding hinges which were once covered by the print are now visible), it is an important testimony to the usage and attraction it once received. I will continue to research the chest and its possible ancestry.

I am very pleased to now have in my collection all nine known prints in the series of Gusu Beauties. My claim to fame is restored! At least until a future discovery shatters it.

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Gusu prints in Esterházy Palace, Eisenstadt, Austria

My believed supremacy as hoarder of the largest collection of the type of Suzhou prints referred to as Gusu Beauties earlier in this blog, has been shattered.

It was Diana Długosz-Jasińska, a Master of Arts in the field of Conservation at Warsaw, who did so by calling my attention to the Esterházy Palace,  wherein one of the rooms is wallpapered with no less than thirty-six prints of Gusu Beauties.

The room in question, called the Small Chinese Salon, is perhaps 6×4 metres, entered by two double doors at each end, the doors set close to the longer outer wall which in its turn contains two large windows, a classic design for a palace room. Presently it is furnished with only six blue satin-covered chairs ranged along the walls and the ubiquitous cord to keep the public at bay.

All the prints are mounted as pairs on panels, separated by blue painted ornamental decoration.

First short wall

First short wall

The first short wall has a double door and five panels, the long wall includes a chimney? and a mirror in the corner, and six panels. A hidden door camouflaged behind the prints is also part of this wall. The third wall is a mirror image of the first. The fourth wall has two windows with only two panels between them.

Right hand side of long wall and part of second short wall

Right hand side of long wall and part of second short wall

Left hand side of long wall

Left hand side of long wall

A total of six different prints have been paired, thus giving a limited composition of three panels, which is repeated over and over again.

Panel consisting of prints 2 & 5

Panel consisting of prints 2 & 5

Please see earlier in this blog for identification of following print numbers given. The most popular, with eight occurrences, is the combination of prints No. 2 and No. 5,

Panel consisting of prints 8 & 1

Panel consisting of prints 8 & 1

followed by seven pairings of No. 8 and No. 1,

Panel consisting of prints 7 & 6

Panel consisting of prints 7 & 6

with finally three panels with prints No. 7 and No. 6. Excluding the panels over the doors, the two short walls have panels mirroring each other. The arrangement of the prints has been well done, and one is not disturbed by the repetition of the same motif in the panels.

It is interesting to note that four of the prints together form the tetraptych mentioned earlier in this blog, but was not implemented, perhaps because restriction of space in the panels.

Tetraptych consisting of prints Nos. 2, 5, 8 & 1

Tetraptych consisting of prints Nos. 2, 5, 8 & 1

The web site of Esterházy Palace gives us this information regarding the room:

Small Chinese Salon

Increasing trade relations with the Far East in the eighteenth century stimulated the vogue for things Chinese also in the Esterházy family, as in nearly all aristocratic houses in Europe. Paul II Anton accordingly commissioned the construction of a small Chinese salon. The coloured wallpapers were based on genuine Chinese woodcuts and further adorned with floral garlands and bird and butterfly motifs. Three repeating motifs represent scenes from the life of Chinese burgher families at the New Year festivities (fireworks, cricket fighting, and arrangement of lotus flowers). The small Chinese Salon has remained practically unaltered since its final appearance was completed in the mid-eighteenth century.

Interesting for us is that Paul II Anton served as imperial ambassador to Naples 1750-1752, again the Italian link that occurs frequently in connection with Chinese prints as wallpapers, and that he died 1762. Maybe he purchased the prints during his stay in Italy, or perhaps commissioned Italian decorators to do the rooms who then brought the prints with them. The dating to the 1750s seems to be consistent with the hanging of Chinese prints as wallpapers in Austria, Germany, France and England, all attributable to this period.

It is known that Italian decorators at the time travelled around Europe to decorate the interiors of mansions and castles. Stucco and plaster work were their speciality, but also wall and ceiling paintings and wallpaper hangings. It is most likely that they carried with them multiple copies of  Chinese prints emanating from an Italian merchant. 

My only claim to fame now, in relation to Gusu Beauties, is that I still possess the widest selection, owning eight of the nine known prints in this group. But for how long?

Posted in chinese prints, printing, prints, Suzhou prints, Wallpaper, woodblock | Tagged , , , , | 5 Comments

Three rediscovered Gusu prints in the Bodleian Library

向達 Xiang Da, or Hsiang Da in Wade-Giles, wrote in his 1932 article concerning Chinese books in Oxford [向達: 瀛涯瑣志 : 記⽜津所藏的中⽂書. In 北平圖書館館刊 10:5 (1936), 9-44], that he had seen many prints and among them three eighteenth century prints from Taohuawu in Suzhou preserved in the Douce Collection at the Bodleian Library. Obviously, no one has paid attention to these prints until recently, when my friend, Sören Edgren, re-read Xiang Da’s article and asked me if I had seen these prints or knew about them. Sören contacted David Helliwell at the Bodleian library who supplied more information and fresh photographs.

The Douce Collection is one of the largest donations (some 19,000 volumes) ever received by the Bodleian and was bequeathed by the antiquarian Frances Douce (1757-1834). Among the mainly western books were some Chinese volumes, which are now shelf-marked Douce Chin. “The collection is small, but contains some items of outstanding interest and great rarity”, including the three prints under discussion.

These three Chinese black-and-white woodblock prints on paper are kept in the larger of two guard-books of single-sheet items, shelf-marked Douce Chin.c.1 and measure approx. 40×60 cm. When mounted in the guard-book two of the prints were framed with a yellow bit of paper, carefully saving the margin signature in one the prints.

  1. Wannianqiao – The Bridge of Ten Thousand Years

The first print shows a bridge over a river and various buildings and shops.

Lower register of Gusu Wannianqiao

Lower register of Gusu Wannianqiao

The street is busy with coolies, pedestrians, and a lady walking on a tight-rope surrounded by spectators and a small orchestra. A rider comes through a large gate to the left, the 脣⾨Chunmen 胥⾨ Xumen, located in west Suzhou south of  Wannian Bridge and one of the twelve city gates. [correction compliment of Anita Wang].

Three tones of black are achieved by overprinting, using perhaps as many as three different woodblocks. A black printed border surrounds the print.

Another example of this same print is in the Kobe Municipal City Museum (see below) but this is hand-coloured and larger, depicting in an additional upper register the 姑蘇萬年橋 Gusu Wannianqiao or Bridge of Ten Thousand Years in Suzhou, which is also the title of the print, a common motif among Suzhou prints of this period.

Kobe Municipal Museum, dated in MS 1740

Kobe Municipal Museum, dated in MS 1740

This upper register contains the handwritten title and a colophon, including a date equivalent to 1740. Since this is handwritten the date might have been added later, but in comparison with similar prints, see below, the date appears correct.

Both prints are definitely printed from the same woodblock judging by the small defects and striations in the block, which are visible in both prints. 

Similar prints illustrating the Gusu Wannianqiao exist, one with printed calligraphy imitating a rubbing in the upper register. I include two examples here, one dated 1741 and the other 1744.

Gusu Wannianqiao 1741

Gusu Wannianqiao 1741

Wannianqiao 1744

Gusu Wannianqiao 1744

The iconography is quite similar in all three prints and it is obvious that at the time there existed a genre and a style common among many artists and studios.

2.  Duanqiao – Melting Snow at Broken Bridge

The second print takes us to Hangzhou and a wintry West Lake. We see part of the lake, with a boat passing under 斷橋 Duanqiao, the famous Broken Bridge, here crowned by a pavilion, on one of the dykes.

Melting Snow at Broken Bridge

Melting Snow at Broken Bridge

A man in the foreground offers his hand to a kneeling lady who has put down her umbrella. In the background are more buildings, some identified by printed characters 曲院⾵風和, 放夜亭 etc. An inscription on top centre reads: 斷橋雪, 和靖梅, 天然點盡西湖; 綴勝景名標, 無復著畫圖, 補羡占花魁 [need translation]. Perhaps we should title this print Melting Snow at Broken Bridge, which was one of the famous Ten Views of West Lake.

Just like the previous print, this one is overprinted two or three times to achieve three tones of grey/black. A printed black border surrounds the image.

3. Leifeng Qiji – The Legend of Leifeng

The third print is also of West Lake, 雷峯奇蹟 Leifeng qiji , The Legend of Leifeng (Thunder Peak) [Pagoda].


Leifeng Pagoda

This Buddhist monument was built in 976 AD, five stories of brick and wood. Japanese pirates burnt the wooden structure during the Ming dynasty (1360-1644) leaving only the brick ruin. As with Melting Snow at Broken Bridge the print has a text at upper centre, reading: 雷峰奇蹟, 白狀元西湖認母,姑蘇桃花塢張星聚戲寫. It touches on a legendary story and explains what we see. Local legend says that the original Leifeng Pagoda was constructed to imprison a snake-turned-human, 白素貞 Bai Suzhen or 白蛇傳 White Snake, who lost her mortal love at West Lake. Her son, 白狀元 Bai Zhuangyuan, (the last two characters showing that he came first in the Imperial Examinations), returns to West Lake to hold a memorial ceremony for his mother, the White Snake. We see Bai Zhuangyuan arriving by boat and preparing to walk up, under the protection of a canopy, to a table prepared with offerings in front of the pagoda. The small person in the ‘dream-stream’ is most likely Bai Suzhen, White Snake, as the starting point of the ‘stream’ is from the crypt of the pagoda. It is her soul, coming out of the pagoda to meet her son.

The pagoda collapsed in 1924, perhaps finally freeing White Snake, and certainly extinguishing its fame as one of the famous Ten Views of West Lake. The Leifeng pagoda was a recurring motif in Chinese prints of West Lake and easily recognisable by its broad and stubby build. Two more of the Ten Views can be seen in the image: 南屏晚钟 Evening Bells on Nanping Hill in the background with the bell tower, and 三潭印⽉月 Three Pools Mirroring the Moon in the foreground, the three lanterns immersed in the water.

The final ten characters, 姑蘇桃花塢張星聚戲寫, tells us that the print was playfully composed by Zhang Xingju of Taohuawu in Suzhou. Taohuawu is the district of Suzhou where most studios and workshops were located. Zhang Xingju’s name reoccurs in the signature on the outer left lower margin where the text reads: 姑蘇桃花塢張星聚發客 or published by Zhang Xingju of Taohuawu in Suzhou. It is interesting to see that Zhang here acted as both artist and publisher/printer.

There is a second print by Zhang Xingju in my collection, the 1741 Wannianqiao print mentioned and illustrated above. This specific example of the print is mounted as a scroll, with all margins cut away. However, we see from a further example of the same print, published in Kuroda Genji’s book [Kuroda Genji 黒田源次, Shina kohanga zuroku 支那古版画図録 (Ancient Chinese Woodblock Prints), Tokyo: Bijutsukenkyūjo 美術研究所,1932. Plate 16 ], the signature 桃花塢張星聚發客, published by Zhang Xingju of Taohuawu, in the left lower margin.

Gusu Wannianqiao 1741 Deatail of Zhang Xingju signaturefrom Kuroda pl. 16

Gusu Wannianqiao 1741 Detail of Zhang Xingju signature from Kuroda pl. 16

The present whereabouts of this print is not known.

There is a third print by Zhang Xingju, this one preserved in the British Museum. It is the 百子圖 One Hundred Boys, dated 1743 and with 筠谷 Yungu as artist and Zhang Xingju as printer.

One Hundred Boys dated 1743. BM no.1991,1031,0.1

One Hundred Boys dated 1743. BM no.1991,1031,0.1

We have again to rely on a different example of this print for the reading of the signature. The BM print has been cut within the margins but the example in the Umi-Mori Art Museum has in the lower right margin 姑蘇桃花塢張星聚發客, published by Zhang Xingju of Taohuawu in Suzhou.

One Hundred Boys 1743. Detail of Zhang Xingju signature

One Hundred Boys 1743. Detail of Zhang Xingju signature

From these two dated prints (1741 and 1743) it is obvious that Zhang was active in the early 1740s and accordingly The Legend of Leifeng print may be dated to this period. It should be mentioned that, at one point, the signature has been misread as 張星號 Zhang Xinghao, and this misinformation appears in some literature, but it is an error.

Both Melting Snow at Broken Bridge and The Legend of Leifeng show vistas of West Lake, and are very similar in style and composition. Artistically and technically they are very accomplished and pleasing. It is tempting to consider them as part of a series of prints illustrating the famous Ten Views of West Lake. They are clearly complete views in their own right, foreground, mid-ground and background all included in each image. They are therefore not a part of a larger print, like the first Wannianqiao print, as we have seen above, which forms the lower register of a larger print.

Both these prints are unique, no other examples are known, nor any other prints that could be part of a presumed series.

The only three prints I know that resemble the Douce prints, both in form and style, are illustrated below.

The first is dated 1732, and therefore definitely too early to be part of a set.

Machida 122

Western Picture of Five Horses, dated 1732

The second is in a private Japanese collection, illustrating the Leifeng pagoda.

Leifeng Pagoda

Leifeng Pagoda

This latter print does not have any of the writing that the Douce prints have but it is close to them in style and atmosphere. Also the technical bravura of the Douce prints is visible in this print. The fact that it shows the Leifeng pagoda (admittedly from another angle), in a way excludes it from being part of the series since we already have seen this view. The total lack of any writing also breaks the assumed uniformity. A common detail: both pagodas sport twigs and branches growing at the top!

The third print is a view of a bridge and pavilions at West Lake. Again, no text or other similarities to group it with the Douce prints.

View of West Lake

View of West Lake

All prints reproduced here show influences from Western art: the vanishing point perspective and shading being the most obvious. The copperplate printing influence is also strong and I wonder if the artists were not aware of Matteo Ripa’s thirty-six copperplate illustrations of the 避暑山莊 Bishu shanzhuang, Summer Palace at Jehol, from 1714. The 1732 print incorporates some very odd and forced elements, especially the piling of rocks in the middle and the decorative carnation-type of trees. The striated sky and the bulbous clouds definitely belong to the western copperplate tradition. One of Ripa’s copper prints is shown here for comparison.

Matteo Ripa copper print no 31

Matteo Ripa copper print no 31

We do not know when the prints entered Frances Douce’s collection but one would assume later in his life, perhaps around the end of the 18th – beginning 19th century. We know that Chinese prints, especially Suzhou prints, were imported into Europe from the 1740s and 1750s onwards. The taste for chinoiserie and for a ‘salon chinoise’ created a huge importation of Chinese ceramics, textiles and wallpapers. The earliest wallpapers were woodblock printed, to be replaced towards the 1760s more and more by painted ones. Not many details are known of how this trade was conducted, and how the prints, once in Europe, were traded and distributed. Quite a few Chinese prints found their way into botanical collections, such as that of Hans Sloane (1660-1753) in England, and those of Antoine de Jussieu (1686-1758) and his brother Bernard de Jussieu (1699-1777) in France. Other prints ended up as wallpapers or wall decorations in castles and mansions all over Europe. And some apparently in the hands of individual connoisseurs such as Douce.

It is a fluke of fate that all three known prints by Zhang Xingju are now in UK collections, with a duplicate of one in a Japanese collection. Douce is responsible for one, and I for the other two: the One Hundred Boys which came from the Jean-Pierre Dubosc collection (he acquired it in Japan) and which was purchased by the BM in 1991; and the Wannianqiao which I bought in Japan some years ago. So the Douce print of Zhang Xingju is the earliest in a European collection, probably sourced directly from China. Sadly, there are no such Suzhou prints preserved in China today.

It must be mentioned that there are other Chinese woodblock prints in the Douce guard-books worthy of attention, but that will have to be the subject of another article.

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Chinese Wallpaper in National Trust Houses

This new publication by the National Trust, ISBN 978-0-7078-0428-6, is authored by Emile de Bruijn, Andrew Bush and Helen Clifford. It discusses and illustrates the wallhangings in 45 manors and castles in the UK belonging to the National Trust. Although only 48 pages long, with many colour illustrations, the publication succeeds in giving ample information on type of wallhanging, either painted or printed, history of the house, and most importantly the possible dates when the hanging was done.

Since my visit at Château Filiéres and the sighting of the printed wallpapers there, I have become aware of the extensive distribution in Europe during the eighteenth century of Chinese prints for interior decoration purpose. The acquisition of large flower-and-bird prints emanating from the Schloss Hainfeld, discussed earlier in this blog, also triggered my interest in this hitherto, at least by me, ignored part of Chinese print history. Census of prints and publications such as the present one help to better explain the print production in China and to date the prints. There are still numerous questions – origin (although much indicates Suzhou), transport, source and distribution in Europe, etc. But as more and more information on wallhangings in Europe become available, our understanding of the prints increases.

Emile de Bruijn has pointed out to me that the cranes in one of the Schloss Hainfeld prints is also present in a wallpaper at Felbrigg Hall (the left crane) and the right hand crane in the Chinese Dressing Room at Saltram. Felbrigg is hung 1752, and if the crane was pasted up at this time we have a good measure for dating the print. However, it should be noticed that the crane is cut out from the print and pasted above another print, perhaps in order to cover over some scuffing, so might be a later addition. The crane at Saltram is also cut out from the original print and collaged onto another print. Saltram was hung possibly 1760. I believe it is safe to date the Hainfeld prints to before 1760.

Saltram (Chinese Dressing Room, hung 1760s?) ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel.

Saltram (Chinese Dressing Room, hung 1760s?)
©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel.

 Felbrigg Hall (hung 1752) ©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel.

Felbrigg Hall (hung 1752)
©National Trust Images/Andreas von Einsiedel.

ex Schloss Hainfeld

ex Schloss Hainfeld
























Just to prove the point about the geographical spread of Chinese prints I conclude by showing a print in Schloss Lichtenwalde next to a print recently acquired in Japan.

Schloss Lichtenwalde

Schloss Lichtenwalde


Acquired in Japan

Acquired in Japan

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