Description & Technical information

62.5cm x 71.5cm framed
The grey peacock-pheasant is a large greyish-brown bird with distinctive green or blue eyespots. Although the grey peacock-pheasant is generally classified with the pheasant or peafowl family, they also include the title of peacock in their name due the similarity of the brightly coloured eyespots displayed on their feathers. The colourful grey peacock-pheasant is painted with watercolours and ink on paper watermarked J WHATMAN. On the bottom right corner there is a Persian inscription, 'sang marvar' which translates loosely to, 'grey [stone] marvar'. The Persian translation of the word 'marvar' represents the Indian word 'Munowwar' which is the name for the polyplectron bicalcaratum bird, also known as the grey peacock-pheasant, which inhabited North-eastern India and Myanmar. One unusual feature of this painting is the raised decoration on the bird's body, feathers and eye which appear almost life-like, probably with the use of gum arabic. A pair of Company School paintings of Indian Egrets belonging to Lord Valentia (gifted by Lord Wellesley in Calcutta around 1803) which also depict birds with life-like textured feathers and a glint painted in their eyes are published in Welch, Room for Wonder: Indian Painting during the British Period 1760-1880, The American Federation of Arts, 1978, p. 58-59, pl. 18a, b and c.

Date:  circa 1800
Period:  1750-1850, 18th century
Origin:  India, Calcutta
Medium: Ink on paper, Watercolours
Dimensions: 44.2 x 53.5 cm (17³/₈ x 21¹/₈ inches)
Provenance: Private UK Collection; originally acquired from an auction in Lincoln in the 1970s
Categories: Oriental and Asian Art, Paintings, Drawings & Prints