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  • Watercolour
    Le Moyne de Morgues, Jacques, born 1533 - died 1588
  • Enlarge image


  • Date:

    ca. 1575 (painted)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Le Moyne de Morgues, Jacques, born 1533 - died 1588 (painter)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour and bodycolour on paper

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This is one of 59 watercolours of fruit and flowers that the French artist Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues painted on 33 sheets. We do not know exactly when he painted them, but there are some clues. The watermark in the paper is the same as that used in Paris and Arras in 1568, and the binding is French. It therefore seems likely that they date from the period between 1568 and 1572. This is when Le Moyne fled to England with other Huguenots (French Protestants) to escape religious persecution in France.

The watercolours were originally in a fine tooled-leather binding dating to the late 16th century. Curators identified the watercolours as the work of Le Moyne in 1922. They removed them from the binding and mounted them individually. (The binding is in the collection of the National Art Library at the V&A.)

In the 16th century botanical illustrators revived the practice of working from real plants rather than copying from earlier painted or printed images. Here the degree of naturalistic detail, including leaves which have been damaged by insects, suggests that Le Moyne was studying a living specimen rather than using an existing illustrations as his source.

Physical description

Botanical illustration of a branch on the apple tree, an apple, and a halved apple.


ca. 1575 (painted)


Le Moyne de Morgues, Jacques, born 1533 - died 1588 (painter)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour and bodycolour on paper


Height: 10.75 in, Width: 7.50 in

Object history note

The drawings from this series were acquired in 1856 as one of the first purchases of the V&A, almost by accident, and solely because they were bound up in an extremely fine French late-16th-century brown calf binding.

Historical significance: This series of watercolours by Le Moyne are outstanding botanical illustrations, remarkable for their directness and truth to nature.

Descriptive line

Watercolour, a quince on the recto and an apple on the verso, a sheet from a series of drawings of English flowers, fruits, etc., Jacques Le Moyne des Morgues, ca. 1575

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Paul Hulton, The Work of Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, A Huguenot Artist in France, Florida and England, vol. I, London, 1977, p. 160

The following is the full text of the entry:

24. Recto. Quince
Plate 29b

Quince, Cydonia oblonga Miller. The fruit is yellowish green with greyish bloom shading to dark green.

Watercolours and bodycolours, some black lead outlines visible; 275 x 196 mm; 10 ¾ x 7 ⅝ in.

Numbered 43.


LITERATURE: Savage (1923) as ‘C. vulgaris’.

Verso. Apple
Plate 29c

Apple, Malus pumila Miller var. The fruit is yellowish brown shading through rose to deep red, the seeds a dark brown.

Watercolours and bodycolours.

Numbered 44.

LITERATURE: Savage (1922), (1923) as ‘Pyrus Malus, var.’.

Spencer Savage, ‘The discovery of some of Jacques Le Moyne’s botanical drawings’ in The Gardeners’ Chronicle, 3rd s., vol. LXXI (1922)

Spencer Savage, ‘Early botanical painters. No. 3. – Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues’ in The Gardeners’ Chronicle, 3rd s., vol. LXXIII (1923)


Water-colour; Gouache

Subjects depicted





Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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