Karl Wilhelm DE HAMILTON (Brussels 1668 - Augsburg 1754)

A Golden Oriole on a Branch Sold

Watercolour on vellum.
Numbered 197 on the backing board.
242 x 193 mm. (9 1/2 x 7 5/8 in.)


Identified by its distinctive, bright yellow plumage, the Eurasian golden oriole (Oriolus oriolus) is found throughout Europe and Western Asia. The bird has a very large range, breeding in the northern hemisphere and spending winters in central and southern Africa.

Beautifully drawn in watercolour or gouache on fine vellum, studies of birds such as this are likely to have been produced as independent works of art for sale to collectors. When painting these highly finished studies of individual birds, Karl Wilhelm de Hamilton chose to depict them standing on a single bare twig or branch, and isolated against a blank background. Two comparable studies of birds on branches by the artist, depicting a finch and a tit and each also drawn on vellum, were sold at auction in London on 2001, while also very similar in style, technique and composition is a gouache drawing of a bullfinch on a gooseberry branch, which appeared at auction in Paris in 2004 and 2012.

Stylistically comparable drawings on vellum of other animal subjects by Karl Wilhelm de Hamilton, executed in the same precise technique, include a sheet of studies of a lizard, a snake and a frog, sold at auction in 1997 and a drawing of three heads of pheasants and partridges, which was also previously in the Dillée collection.

The Dillée family, Paris
Thence by descent to Guillaume Dillée, Paris.

Karl Wilhelm DE HAMILTON

A Golden Oriole on a Branch


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