Sour orange thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level H , Shelf Temp1, Case MS CUTTINGS

Sour orange

Watercolour
ca. 1640 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This watercolour is part of the 'Paper Museum' assembled by the 17th-century Roman antiquarian and collector Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657). This was a vast visual encyclopaedia of the ancient and natural worlds, consisting of thousands of drawings and prints. Of roughly 7000 surviving drawings from the Paper Museum, around 2500 are of natural history subjects, including fruit and plants.

Cassiano was a member of Europe's first modern scientific academy, the prestigious Accademia dei Lincei, established in Rome in 1603 - half a century before either the Royal Society in London or the Académie des Sciences in Paris. The Accademia, which numbered Galileo amongst its members, placed great emphasis on observation as the key to unravelling the mysteries of nature.

For his Paper Museum Cassiano commissioned artists to make drawings directly from specimens; the resulting works were intended to be clear and objective scientific records. Little is known about these artists, due to the documentary bias of the visual encyclopaedia. However, many of the drawings are attributed on stylistic grounds to Vincenzo Leonardi, who was often employed by Cassiano.

The way in which the orange is depicted here, with the fruit shown both whole and halved, is typical of the representation of natural specimens in the Paper Museum. An engraving was made after this drawing and published in 1646 in the Hesperides by Giovanni Battista Ferrari, a treatise on the cultivation of citrus fruit. The scroll which is indicated in black chalk on the drawing was probably added in the printmaker's workshop; in the engraving it is inscribed with the name of the species.
read Watercolours from the Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo One of the grandest pictorial records of the 17th century was the 'Museo Cartaceo' or 'Paper Museum'. This vast visual encyclopaedia of the ancient and natural worlds, consisting of thousands of drawings and prints, was assembled by the Italian nobleman Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588 – 1657). ...
object details
Category
Object Type
Additional TitleCitrus aurantium L. (generic title)
Materials and Techniques
Watercolour and bodycolour, with gum heightening, over black chalk
Brief Description
Watercolour of a sour orange attributed to Vincenzo Leonardi (fl.1621-46) from the 'Paper Museum' of Cassiano dal Pozzo; ca. 1640
Physical Description
Watercolour of a whole orange with leaves and flowers attached, and half orange in bottom right-hand corner.
Dimensions
  • Estimate height: 24.2cm
  • Estimate width: 26.3cm
Dimensions taken from Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800, C.M. Kauffmann, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1973
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'aaa' (Pen and ink inscription at bottom right)
Gallery Label
Probably by Vincenzo Leonardi active 1621-46 Seville Orange (Citrus aurantium L.) About 1640 This drawing is from Cassiano dal Pozzo’s ‘paper museum’, a vast visual encyclopedia consisting of drawings and prints. Around 2500 images are of natural history subjects including fruit and plants. Dal Pozzo arranged for engravings to be made of his citrus drawings for Giovanni Battista Ferrari’s treatise on citrus cultivation, which attempted to classify the species. Rome Watercolour and bodycolour Purchased with support from the Gaster Fund and the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Mr and Mrs Moross V&A: E.427-2009(2011)
Credit line
Purchased with support from the Gaster Fund and the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Mr and Mrs Moross
Object history
Commissioned by Cassiano dal Pozzo; from whose heirs purchased by Pope Clement XI, 1703; his nephew, Alessandro Albani, 1714; from whom purchased by George III, 1762; by descent to George V. Sold, with many other drawings from the Paper Museum, from the Royal Library at Windsor Castle in the 1920s.



The London dealer Jacob Mendelson acquired many of these works and sold a large group to Sir Rex Nan Kivell who was then a partner in the Redfern Galleries. The art dealer Peter Cochrane had worked at the Redfern Galleries in the 1930s and knew Nan Kivell, from whom he presumably acquired this watercolour in the early 1950s.



Purchased from the estate of Peter Cochrane with E.426-2009 and E.428-2009, 2009.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This watercolour is part of the 'Paper Museum' assembled by the 17th-century Roman antiquarian and collector Cassiano dal Pozzo (1588-1657). This was a vast visual encyclopaedia of the ancient and natural worlds, consisting of thousands of drawings and prints. Of roughly 7000 surviving drawings from the Paper Museum, around 2500 are of natural history subjects, including fruit and plants.



Cassiano was a member of Europe's first modern scientific academy, the prestigious Accademia dei Lincei, established in Rome in 1603 - half a century before either the Royal Society in London or the Académie des Sciences in Paris. The Accademia, which numbered Galileo amongst its members, placed great emphasis on observation as the key to unravelling the mysteries of nature.



For his Paper Museum Cassiano commissioned artists to make drawings directly from specimens; the resulting works were intended to be clear and objective scientific records. Little is known about these artists, due to the documentary bias of the visual encyclopaedia. However, many of the drawings are attributed on stylistic grounds to Vincenzo Leonardi, who was often employed by Cassiano.



The way in which the orange is depicted here, with the fruit shown both whole and halved, is typical of the representation of natural specimens in the Paper Museum. An engraving was made after this drawing and published in 1646 in the Hesperides by Giovanni Battista Ferrari, a treatise on the cultivation of citrus fruit. The scroll which is indicated in black chalk on the drawing was probably added in the printmaker's workshop; in the engraving it is inscribed with the name of the species.
Bibliographic Reference
David Freedberg and Enrico Baldini, The Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo: Citrus Fruit (London: The Royal Collection in association with Harvey Miller Publishers, 1997), no. 31
Collection
Accession Number
E.427-2009

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record createdAugust 25, 2009
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