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Vireo or Red Eyed Fly Catcher

Edwards, George –Drayton, John – Sr.
Place Made:
London Great Britain
Date Made:
watercolor on paper
HOA 10 7/16″; WOA 9 3/8″
Accession Number:
This watercolor drawing is one of a collection owned by John Drayton (1715-1779) builder of “Drayton Hall” near Charleston, South Carolina, that were preserved in a portfolio dated “1733” bearing his signature. (MESDA acc. 5531)

This drawing differs significantly from the others in the Drayton Portfolio. It is the only example from the group that is not numbered, and also varies in the execution of its details. It is possible that this drawing is not the work of Edwards, but perhaps a copy by Drayton himself. Another possibility is that this example is a sketch intended only as a study by the Edwards and not considered by him to be a finished example of the same caliber as 4763.1.

ARTIST: George Edwards (1697-1773) is remembered as the author of two of the most important ornithological studies of the eighteenth century: Natural History of Uncommon Birds (1743) and Gleanings of Natural History (1760). Edwards, along with Mark Catesby (1683-1749) served as fellows of the Royal Society and Edwards contributed to Catesby’s Natural History. Edwards also made copies of some of Catesby’s original drawings, or drew specimens that Catesby had sent from the New World to his colleagues back in London.

RELATED WORKS: The MESDA Collection has two Edwards watercolors of birds: a Starling (MESDA acc. 4763.1) and a Vireo (MESDA acc. 4763.2) as well as the manuscript frontis from the volume in which they were bound (MESDA acc. 5531)

DESCRIPTION: Watercolor on paper with a Strasburg Bend (shield-like in shape with fleur-de-lis at the bottom) watermark. The watercolor is of a green bird with a white breast perched on a limb. The tree is brown with small green leaves all over. A plant can be seen growing at the root of the tree. Brown birds can be seen flying in the background: one in the upper left corner and the other in the lower right corner. The picture is out of proportion.

Originally owned by John Drayton (1715-1779) builder of “Drayton Hall” near Charleston, South Carolina.
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