British East India Company School Paintings, ca. 1810
I got them about 40 years ago in London. I got them at an antiques fair, and they were in the back of a small place that was selling them. I asked them about them. The lady told me that she believed they were Chinese, and she bought them from a guy who had an estate near her shop, who said occasionally wanted to sell things cheaply. They weren't framed the way they are now. They were in big, heavy wood frames, and they had wood backings that were nailed in them. So I had them reframed. And when they reframed them, they showed me that there was a perfect shadow of these birds, because they were on acidic paper. So, I, that's all I know about them.
I will posit that they were framed probably toward the early part of the 20th century to the mid part of the 20th century, and that they had previously been in an album of paintings, and that the paper that you see here is in such great shape because they had been closed for over 100 years, probably closer to 150 years.
These are not Chinese. And that's confirmed by the type of painting, which is characteristic of a group of works done under the auspices of the East India Company, which was granted the corporate rights to secure trade through most of East Asia, and-- beginning in 1600, and they continued through the mid-19th century. And one of the things that they did was to create a school of painters who used the local talents, fused in a manner that was informed by English painting styles. And that's called Company School paintings. The painting medium is watercolor, and I believe these date from about 1800 to 1820. I don't know exactly where they're from, although, in Calcutta, there were a number of artists that worked there, and in Lucknow, they were, as well. And they tended to focus on botanical subjects and birds. And so they would create these albums of local scenes, which the British, then, would bring back to their home after they finished their time working in India. They're extraordinary. And in the album they were in, these would have been considerably larger sheets of paper than what we see here.
Oh. HOST: The reduction in size of the sheet does affect the value. I'm curious, what would you think they would be worth, if you had to go buy these today?
I have no idea. So, I paid about 200 pounds for them about 40 years ago, which would have been $300, approximately. I'm hoping they're worth more than that.
A price that I think, I feel confident that would be easy to go by would be around $4,000 at a retail price.
Oh, that's wonderful.
If you went to a shop to buy them for the pair. And it could be more than that. But I would say around $4,000 today.
If these had not been cut down and not yellowed, in a retail market, it would have been, I would say, close to $10,000 for the pair.
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