LAWRANCE, Mary (fl. 1794-1830)
Nelumbium [nucifera]--Water Lilly [sic]
Water- and body-color on vellum, heightened with gum arabic over graphite outlines. 36 x 29 1/2 inches (91 x 75 cm), signed and titled by the artist (l.r.) in graphite in a graceful hand. A few losses of the densely applied color to the sky at upper left and some minor flaking at a few other points. Traces of early mounting to a stretcher, perhaps by the artist herself (there is an upper and lower fold with marks from tacking, these areas left unpainted).
A lovely painting by a noted late 18th / early 19th century female flower painter.
Mary Lawrance (later Mrs. Kearse), flower painter, exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1795 to 1830. She lived during a period when flower painting was considered one of the necessary social accomplishments for ladies and she was able to charge up to half-a-guinea a lesson. She "is said to have been the possessor of much personal charm and was exceedingly popular in London... [she] obtained her botanical specimens for her drawings from various nursery gardens, including the famous Vineyard nursery at Hammersmith... It was thought to be an honour for the owner as well as the flower when Miss Lawrance painted its portrait" (Henrey II, pp.580-581).