A fine light blue silk bed cover, for export to Europe, embroidered with a landscape scene of a pavilion, rocks and flowers to the centre and the corners. The design repeated round the wide border and with pagoda, trees and river boats.
Chinese c. 1820.
230 x 295 cms, excluding fringe
Reeves family by descent
Anthony du Boulay Collection
The bed cover was commissioned in Canton around 1820 by John Reeves, 1774-1856, chief Inspector of Tea for The East India Company. It is exceptional to have an export bed cover which was personally commissioned in China. John Reeves was a most interesting man who, apart from holding an important position in The East India Company, had made the acquaintance of Sir Joseph Banks, the famous English naturalist and botanist, and was instructed by him in how to collect botanical and natural history specimens. During his time in China he became a major source of ornamental plants which he shipped to The Royal Horticultural Society and on his visits to England in 1816, 1824 and 1831 he brought with him many natural history specimens and drawings which are now in the Natural History Museum. As an important person in southern China, his portrait was painted by George Chinnery in 1812.
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