Ridge Gourds, Bitter Gourd
381 x 305 mm. (15 x 12 in.)
The present sheet was drawn in 2016, and depicts two ridge gourds at the left and a single bitter gourd at the right. Resembling a cucumber or zucchini with ridges, the ridge gourd (Luffa acutangula) is found throughout Asia. When unripe, its fruit is cultivated and eaten as a vegetable, particularly in China, India, and Vietnam, while when fully matured it can be harvested, dried and made into natural cleaning sponges or body scrubs. The bitter gourd (Momordica charantia), more commonly known as a bitter melon, is a tropical and subtropical vine grown throughout Asia, Africa and the Caribbean for its edible fruit, as well as for medicinal purposes. Of the several varieties of bitter gourd that are known, the fruit depicted in this drawing appears to be an Indian cultivar. Cooked when it is green or beginning to turn yellow, the bitter gourd is used extensively in the cuisine of the Indian subcontinent.
The collector Shirley Sherwood has recently noted of the artist that, ‘Brigid Edwards has already been recognized as a painter of the most potent images which have an arresting yet subtle impact.’ Similarly, in the catalogue of an exhibition of watercolours by Edwards at a London gallery, Ian Burton noted of her work that ‘The fine painting of the detail on the vellum is uncanny, but when these single objects are arranged and suspended in a contemplative space, they achieve their greatest power, and as a result of this creative act of attention, they have an almost religious intensity.’