Pancratium

Artist:
Georg Dionysius Ehret (German, Heidelberg 1708–1770 London)
Date:
1738–70
Medium:
Watercolor and gouache, with traces of black chalk on vellum
Dimensions:
Sheet: 18 9/16 x 14 13/16 in. (47.2 x 37.6 cm)
Classification:
Drawings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Brooke Russell Astor Bequest, 2013
Accession Number:
2013.212
Not on view
Born in Heidelberg, Ehret settled in London in 1738 and established a style of botanical drawing that emphasized botanical accuracy. Engravings after his drawings were published in several books and the artist became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1757. This sheet, with its striking placement of the subject against the white ground, beautifully represents the artist's mature style. From Dr. Christoph Joseph Trew, an eminent Nuremberg physician and botanist, Ehret had learned the importance of floral sexual organs, and here carefully described the stamens and pistils of a flowering Pancratium (likely the subspecies Pancratium maritimum or maritime daffodil), a bulb that grows in dry, sandy climates near the shores of the Mediterranean. The stenciled title at lower left suggests that the work was drawn as part of a series.
Inscription: Stencilled letters lower left: "PANCRATIUM"
Christie's, New York, 26 January 2012, lot 88; Vendor: Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel , Munich
Christie's, New York Old Master & Early British Drawings & Watercolors. [Sale catalogue]. January 26, 2012, lot 88, p. 67, ill.