Original watercolor and ink drawing of a tropical orchid species, 20" by 16 1/2" (24" by 20" in mid 20th century simple framing), the botanical name Onsidium luxidum at lower right in pencil. A window in the reverse backing shows, written on a small piece of paper in brown ink in flowing early hand, "From Nature by T. Allport/Enville Hall April 1834." Enville Hall is today a classic English country estate and manor house in Staffordshire, in west-central England. This is the so-called Mule Ear orchid found in Jamaica, Cuba, extreme southern Florida and Northern South America. A website describes the history of this beautiful estate, which is about as English as England gets. From the 18th century well into Victorian times, the family placed a high priority on gardening, and by the mid 1850's, 6,000 people a week were coming to view the splendor. Hot houses and a conservatory grew exotic fruits such as melons and pineapples, and orchids were cultivated, (likely explaining the existence of our drawing). I do not see a "T. Allport" as a listed artist but then again there were countless talented watercolorists and botanical artists in 19th century England. This piece is in good condition with the exception of a dark brown area about 1/2" long at left, and a tear in the paper, 3 3/4", extending in from the right edge. There is a bit of goldish silk ribbon serving unsuccessfully as a mat. The buyer could preserve the frame and simply have a proper mat cut to fit. A delicate botanical drawing that has survived almost 200 years in relatively good condition.
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