[Click to enlarge. Narcissus and Orchid, 1920 (on folding paper fan mounted as an album leaf) by Chen Hengke (Chinese, 1876–1923) ink and color on alum paper. Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth, in memory of La Ferne Hatfield Ellsworth, 1986. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.]
I was trying to research the flowers in Downton Abbey.
[Screengrab from Downton Abbey, season one, episode five.]
But then, revisiting some things in Lady Sybil's room, I became distracted.
[More screengrabs from Downton Abbey, season one, episode five.]
I know, I know. A lot has already been said about the show's sets and Highclere Castle where much of Downton Abbey is filmed. Early on, Patricia Shackelford, aka Mrs. Blandings, did a terrific interview with DA's production designer, Donal Woods. Still, I haven't tired of the luminous mix on Sybil's mantel. I love how the arrangement is thrown off a bit by the books stacked at the edge (very Sybil) and I like the added layer of the fan. In fact, needing a Friday Piece with ties to orchids and the 1920s, I decided it would be another fan.
Shown at top is 20th century Chinese painter Chen Hengke's work on folded paper, Narcissus and Orchid. Surf over to The Met to get a detailed look at his wonderful brushwork. Part of post-Qing China, the artist studied abroad in Europe and Japan, and then adapted traditional Chinese styles for a new era (more on this over at Princeton's Asian Art Collection). Other examples of Chen Hengke's orchids can be found at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
[Image via the Atlanta Botanical Garden.]
And the live variety will be on view in what promises to be a show-stopping display of hanging gardens created for Orchid Daze's tenth anniversary at the Atlanta Botanical Garden's Fuqua Orchid Center, February 4 through April 15.