O.S.A. , Poem Scroll with Floral Border -Early 19th-century watercolour painting

An original early 19th-century watercolour painting, O.S.A. Poem Scroll with Floral Border.

An intricately detailed watercolour painting, with pen and ink underdrawing, of a scroll set amidst various decorative elements such as butterflies, cards and flowering vines. While the text in the scroll appears to be a work of original poetry, the odd writings in the black circle appear to have come from a book of riddles that was popular in many forms early in the nineteenth century. Paper includes an 1813 Molineux & Johnston, Triple Plume with Coronet (Prince of Wales) watermark running horizontally centre.  

Initialled lower right on the scroll. Inscribed on the scroll: 'Whatever may be my future doom; In [illegible] light shall gild the gloom; Receiving still the gathered flowers; that bloomed for me in my happiest hours'. In the black circle: 'My first I adore, my second I abjure, my third I celebrate. Why is a [illegible - poss. pamphlet?] like a released Galley slave.'
Minor foxing and age toning around the edges as shown. Small tear to the lower left edge. Otherwise, in good condition for its age.
18.7cm x 25.7cm.

This work is one of a collection we have for sale from an early nineteenth-century album with a cover inscription that reads ’The Property of St. Cyres Guest House, Jersey’. The label is a bit of a misnomer, as the book was actually used as a commonplace album once owned by a Jane Dorothea Warde, daughter of the Reverend Richard Warde at Yalding Vicarage in Kent. Executed by a number of hands, and filled with rich prose, poetry and artworks spanning from 1812 to 1827, the works in this book form a microcosm of popular taste in the late Georgian world, but also of the cultivated intimacy that passed freely between family and friends. 

The inscription on the first page reads ‘Jane Warde, from her brother R.R. (Richard Ramsay) Warde, June 26th, 1817’, indicating that it is likely that as a book of blank paper, the album was either found or bought and then gifted and reused by the then sixteen-year-old Jane as a place to collect personal items from family, friends and acquaintances. The book was likely printed some years earlier, in 1813, which would explain why a majority of the images in this collection bear an 1813 Molineux & Johnston (M&J) Prince of Wales paper watermark regardless of the date on the image. Jane appears to have moved in upper class circles - outside of many family members whose names can be traced in the book, it also includes works by high members of the Royal Navy, the children of wealthy landowners from Scotland and Wales, as well as a banker from Brighton, who later became infamous for swindling his investors in a widely publicised court case in 1842.

Though the skill level varies between artists, and the works range from impromptu drawings to copies of popular prints, each work is crafted with delicate attention to detail, with even the more cursory drawings containing an element of wit and vivacity. Each image tells a small piece of the story of its individual artist, and is an exciting piece of the historical record of late Georgian society.

Text copyright © 2017 Somerset & Wood Fine Art Ltd. All rights reserved.

Product code: JG-534

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