Asian Objects at Packwood House Bucknell Art History Students Examine Edith Fetherston's Collection, Fall 2015

Edith Fetherston Collects the Decorative Arts of Asia

by: Janice Mann, Associate Professor of Art & Art History, Bucknell University

The Packwood House Museum in Lewisburg, PA exhibits the collection of Edith (1885-1972) and John Fetherston (1874-1962), the owners of this 18th-century house for 36 years beginning in 1936. Edith, who was an artist, garden designer, and collector, acquired the majority of the works on display in this small museum. They are the decorative objects and works of art that added delight to her daily life. Similar to the much grander Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum in Boston, Packwood House remains faithful to the appearance of the Fetherstone’s home at the time of Edith’s death in 1972.

Although she was born, raised, and chose to retire in Lewisburg, Edith was by no means a parochial person. She spoke German and French and travelled in Europe, Japan, Central Asia, and the Middle East. The Packwood House collection is the manifestation of her eclectic and cosmopolitan taste. Displayed throughout the house are her own paintings, souvenirs from her travels, such as a bronze camel from Mongolia and an icon from Jerusalem, early Pennsylvania furniture, tramp art, Tiffany glass, Anatolian and Persian rugs, and most significantly in this case, numerous examples of Japanese and Chinese decorative arts.

Edith Fetherston’s interest in objects from Asia reflects that of an earlier generation of American collectors such as Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), Isabella Stewart Gardner (1840-1924) and Jane Stanford (1828-1905) who were drawn to the art of the Orient. For these collectors, and likely for Fetherston too, the art of East Asia represented a new aesthetic, both modern (for Europeans) and ancient, rooted in the age-old traditions of East Asian art. For women collectors with smaller budgets and more restricted access to large auctions, the decorative arts of Asia were more readily available because they were lower in price than the works of European artists and less competition was required to purchase them. Like the better-known Isabella Stewart Gardner with whom Edith Fetherston identified, she arranged Asian, American, and European works together throughout Packwood House without consideration of their place of origin or date. Creating a place of beauty that gave pleasure, rather than an education, to her guests was her main aim.

Creating a place of beauty that gave pleasure, rather than an education, to her guests was her main aim.

The short essays that follow about just some of the Asian works in Packwood House were written by the members of my class, The West Encounters the Rest, taught at Bucknell University in the fall semester in 2015. They bring to these essays their art historical research skills, keen observation, and awareness of how cultural exchange influences taste, aesthetic appreciation, and the perception of those who differ from us. The students in the class were Nicole Adams, Casey Bailey, Camdin Bartholomew, Stephanie Dressler, Daisy Fornengo, Summer Greyson-Smith, Rebecca Reeve, Danielle Retcho, Ariel Senackerib, and Madelyn Zachara. We would all like to thank Carrie Johnston, Bucknell’s CLIR Fellow, and especially Emily Sherwood, Assistant Director of Instructional Technology, who helped us learn about new digital technologies. I would also like to thank Professors Song Chen, James Orr, and Xi Tian in Bucknell's Department of East Asian Studies, and Karlene McLaine in Department of Religious Studies for their help with translations, as well as James Shields in Comparative Humanities for his assistance with the iconography of Buddha. And, finally, our thanks to Jennifer Snyder and Christine Sperling at Packwood House for allowing us access to Edith Fetherston’s fascinating collection.

Reception Room

Large Japanese Imari Bowl

by: Ariel Senackerib

Medium: Porcelain

Date: 19th century

Place of Origin: Japan

Date of Purchase: 02/28/1972

Measurements: Height 6 inches, Diameter 17 inches

This large Japanese Imari ware bowl, made for decoration not practical use, is placed up high in the reception room where it can be admired. The sides of the bowl are decorated with a few floating orange, blue, and gold flowers and two abstract moths against a white background. The top rim of the bowl is painted in a worn dark orange color. The sparse decoration of the outside contrasts with the inside of the bowl which is completely covered with floral patterns and scenes. One scene shows four figures sitting facing each other and another shows a tiger surrounded by flowers. The figures are wearing colorful patterned garments that are flat and not three-dimensional. There are three females and one male who seem to be all enjoying the central figure play a harp. They sit surrounded by some suggested architecture and light foliage that floats in white space. It is constructed to suggest one room receding into space by linear perspective, and a window which is created by the tree branch appearing through a rectangular break in the wall. The tiger is simply shown with orange and white stripes and it turns its head back. This scene with the tiger, that with the figures, and a circular scene filled with flowers, are separated from the floral design that fills the rest of the surface by a swirling red line. The colorful abstract floral design is dominated by oranges and reds with some blue flowers against a white background. The sides of the bowl are less densely with larger flowers.

Overall, the bowl is striking in color and design. Typical of Imari ware, its three main colors include a blue under glaze, orange and gold. However there is also enough green, yellow, and pink in the color of the design to balance out the liberal use of red and orange. While it may be larger and more dramatic in color, it is by no means atypical of the type of pottery Edith Fetherston collected. Its elaborate pattern and bright colors make this a decoration made for American collectors to display rather than to be used for a specific function.

Japanese Imari ware is often considered the epitome of Japanese ceramics, however, many of its designs and motifs are Chinese-Japanese hybrids . For example, the floral designs inside the bowl and the four figures probably take their cues from Chinese art. However, the tiger and the overall asymmetrical composition is more Japanese. Additionally, the Dutch East India Company had a significant influence on the types of designs made for export . It was because these types of products were made for export that they were tailored to fit Western European tastes for the exotic. Many objects such as this one were made to look more “authentic” in their aesthetics, hence the combination of generic Chinese and Japanese styles that a Western purchaser would not be able to distinguish between.

After the start of the Meiji period which last from 1868 to 1912, Japanese craftwork drastically modernized and took its influences from a variety of surrounding cultures. The cross-cultural influences on this type of pottery makes it a suitable addition to Edith Fetherston’s collection. She puts Japanese, Chinese and even American objects in the same room. There is a cross-cultural quality to her collection that emphasizes the beauty of the objects rather than their origins, and she places objects from her different trips together rather than separately. This large Imari bowl is one of many Japanese pieces in the reception room, but because of the Chinese like motifs, and aesthetic appeal to a Western buyer, it ties into the rest of the room.

Pair of Elephants

by: Ariel Senackerib

Medium: Teak; painted wood

Date: 19th century

Place of Origin: Southeast Asia

Date of Purchase: 02/28/1972

Provenance: Purchased from George Stein

Measurements: Height 31 inches, Width 15 inches, Depth 35 inches

This pair of elephants is on either side of the cabinet containing Japanese and Chinese objects in the reception room. Standing about two and a half feet tall, they are made of solid teak, a wood native to south and Southeast Asia, and painted a dark gray. The tusks contrast in a yellowed ivory color, as do the eyes. The ears are painted to fade out to a slightly lighter brown that also shows on the top of the trunk, and painted with dark spots. These spots repeat under the head and neck of the elephants. The ears fold up in a natural way with carved lines on the inner portion, as does the area around the neck. Some parts have been attached separately with screws, and the right side ears of both elephants have been broken and repaired. Incised horizontal lines mark the the trunk imitating the natural wrinkled texture of an elephant’s skin. These lines are also visible on the ears, back and feet of the elephants.

Edith Fetherston was an animal lover. Many photographs and paintings of her dog and of roosters hang throughout Packwood House. She had no children so along with her husband, her animals were the main recipients of her domestic attention. Her attraction to animals as beings with individuality drew her to the representations of tigers and camels and other animals, including these elephants, from southern and eastern Asia, which can be found throughout Packwood House.

Fetherston purchased these elephants from a man named George Stein who told her that the American Ambassador purchased them from the King of Siam (now Thailand). Although they are made of teak, a wood native to Thailand, it is an unlikely story. However, elephants are a common theme for souvenirs from southeast Asia. While the Dutch initially made contact with Thailand as early as the 16th century, European commerce dropped until the 19th century due to discouragement from the ruling body. King Rama VI (1910-25) was seen as a friend to Western traders, as a monarch educated in England and open to foreign trade and influence. More Thai objects became available in the West during and after his rule.

Fetherston was always looking for the new and exciting. She collected on the basis of personal taste, and her relationship to animals is one that most likely drew her to want to collect representations of exotic as well as domestic animals. These elephants are an example of how diverse this particular collection is.

Ivory Figurine of Guanyin

by: Summer Grenyion-Smith

Medium: Ivory with polychromy

Date: 18th century

Place of Origin: China

Date of Purchase: unknown

Measurements: Height 8.5 inches, Width 2 inches

This work of art is found in the reception room of the Packwood House Museum. The Museum does not have an identification for this object, but the figurine is so similar to a porcelain statue of Guan Yin in the Shanghai Museum that it is likely that this work also represents the Goddess of Mercy. Carved from ivory, the artist depicts the figure clothed in loose, supple robes. Because of her divine status, the artist depicts her on a stone pedestal. Her drapery flows to the left, giving the still figurine the illusion of motion. It is unclear if she is walking or if she is simply standing as her robe blows in the wind. With a soft expression, the figure appears calm and serene. Her arms are folded across her chest accentuating the length of her robe.

The figure is the natural colour of the ivory with the exception of her black hair. Although appearing simple in design, details like her beaded heart necklace, the curvature and folds in her clothing, and the layering of the foundation on which she stands display intricacy. The figurine subtly portrays conventionally feminine qualities as a small hand and a foot which peek out from underneath the cloak appear dainty and delicate.

The name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin which means “Perceiving the Cries of the World”. Guanyin is extremely popular among Chinese Buddhists. She is generally seen as a source of unconditional love as well as a saviour. In her bodhisattva vow, Guanyin promises to answer the cries and pleas of all sentient beings and to emancipate them from their karmic woes. In non-devotional Chinese Buddhist schools, Guanyin is revered as the principle of compassion, love and mercy, instead of being seen as an active external force of unconditional love and salvation. The act, thought and feeling of compassion and love is viewed as Guanyin. She is also generally viewed by many as the protector of women and children. Because of this, she is also seen as a fertility goddess who can grant children to couples. Guanyin is also seen as the champion of the unfortunate, sick, disabled, poor, as well as people in danger.

Chinese Fisherman Figurine

by: Kasey Bailey

Medium: Papier-mâché and Wood

Date: 20th century

Place of Origin: China

Measurements: Height 11 inches, Width 3 inches

In the cabinet of Edith Fetherston’s reception room stands a small figure of a Chinese fisherman. The figurine is crafted out of papier-mâché molded around a wire and cardboard form. It stands upon a wooden base, originally painted green but now chipped in some places. The fisherman is wearing knee-length beige-colored trousers and a faded blue shirt. Overtop of his clothing is a ring of straw meant to repel the rain. His feet are bare and upon his head is a hat with a wide square brim, which is frequently seen in stereotypical depictions of Chinese peasants. In his left hand, he grasps a newly caught fish that now hangs from his line. This old fisherman has a short, white goatee and rosy cheeks. Despite the poverty suggested by his clothing and the prominent ribs protruding above the neckline of his shirt, the fisherman’s face is lit up by a broad smile.

Patricia Welch in Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery suggests that fishermen, often depicted in scroll art, should be viewed as “intellectual refugees”, rather than just as simple fishermen. As Fetherston’s fisherman is dressed in simple clothing and has crossed, uneven eyes, we can cannot accept this explanation as the meaning behind the sculpture. More likely, this papier-mâché figure was meant to be a mockery of a country lifestyle.

Turquoise Bowl

by: Danielle Retcho

Figure 1

Medium: Porcelain with polychrome enamel

Date: Qing Dynasty 1644-1912

Place of Origin: Chinese

Measurement: 11 inches in diameter

Provenance: Acquired by Edith Fetherston

This decorative Chinese turquoise bowl, believed to date from the Qing Dynasty, is decorated with Chinese boys performing various tasks and currently displayed in Edith Fetherston’s Reception Room (Figure 1). The interior of the bowl features six boys lining the sides, while one boy sits pensively in the middle. He sits on a bench with a table of books behind him and three stems with flowers and leaves growing out of a pot on his right side (Figure 2). Typical of Chinese art, the objects and bench appear to be floating on the turquoise background because there is no ground line establishing their position.

Figure 2

A legend often depicted in Chinese art is the tale of ‘One Hundred Boys.’ Originating during the ancient Zhou Dynasty, the ‘One Hundred Boys’ were believed to be the sons King Wen and his twenty- four wives. The one- hundredth son was adopted to complete his large family of ninety- nine sons, which established the ideal Chinese family. The legend became popular in Chinese art, specifically depicted on wedding objects and in bedroom decor, symbolizing the desire to have many children. Typical “One Hundred Boys” imagery shows children playing board games, kicking balls, flying kites, reading books, or amusing themselves with lotus flowers, lanterns, or drums.

Although Edith Fetherston’s bowl is decorated with boys, only a few are shown involved in these typical pastimes. For example, the central seated figure holds a lantern up in the air with his right hand, suggesting the ‘bumper harvest’ representing peace. There is also a pink lotus flower growing out of a vessel beside him symbolizing tranquility. Additionally, the boy above the central figure on the interior of the bowl seems to have just picked a lotus flower from the dish garden. The dish garden sits on a pedestal with a scroll behind the stand suggesting literacy and education. Moving clockwise, the next figure stands in front of two large jars and is holding a drum. The drum suggests the boy’s knowledge of music and his ability to perform in a public event, such as a parade. The importance of education is also represented by a boy standing in front of a table full of books. While the common playfulness of the boys is absent, there is imagery to suggest that this is the ‘One Hundred Boys’ theme.

Along with the inside of the bowl, the outside also depicts several images of the Chinese legend. For example, one figure is playing the drums while another has clappers, signifying their involvement in puppet shows and dances. Another boy carries a Chinese instrument called a bloanggu; a type of drum attached on a stick with beaters on a string (Figure 3). Lastly there is a boy is carrying lotus leaves in a vase indicative of a festival dating back to the Song Dynasty.

Figures 3 and 4

The provenance of this object is unknown, however there are intriguing stamps and letters on the bottom of the bowl which provide us with a clue of its history. According to Dr. James Orr, a Bucknell University professor of East Asian Studies, the large red lettered stamp that is worn away, says ‘China’, while the other stamp provides us with more information about when it was created. He calls it a ‘seal script’ which is translated to “Manufactured in the Jiaqing [reign] of the Great Qing [dynasty]” (Figure 4.)

The stamp, seen on the bottom of the bowl, was created by Jiaqing’s predecessor Qianlong, who ruled from 1736 to 1795. He developed a royal collection of art through commissioning many works as well as acquiring artifacts. In order to mark the works and give them dates with historical context, he created a zhuanshu (exclusive) seal marking his reign. The seal was a specific Chinese character, typically applied in red ink as seen on the Turquoise Bowl. Based on the translation of the seal on the bottom of this vessel, it is from the Jiaqing reign (Figure 4). The continuation of labeling the objects depicts the emperor’s power and desire for their objects to be permanent and long lasting. While the seal is present on the bowl, Fetherston does not have records of the object. It is possible for the bowl to be a copy of the original from the nineteenth century. If this were a copy, one could categorize this bowl as Chinoiserie which was a way for the West to interpret the decorative arts of the East.

Famille Rose Bowl

by: Daisy Fornengo

Famille Rose Bowl

Medium: Enamelled Porcelain

Date: Mid 19th Century

Place of Origin: China

Measurements: Height 5 inches, Diameter 12 inches

This porcelain bowl, colored with thick, enamel glaze and gilt, or gold enamel, is decorated with both figural and floral motifs. The bowl can be seen in a large cabinet in the reception room of Edith Fetherston’s home. A circular image of nine court figures predominantly dressed in red and blue, involved in activities near a flowing river, decorates the bottom of the inside of the bowl. This scene is separated from the complex scenes around the inner sides of the bowl by a circular green and blue frame. The inner sides of the bowl depict one indoor scene of a woman writing as a man looks on, including four more women in the background of this scene, and an outdoor scene of five men and a horse, two of these men holding long staffs, one of which is holding a shade for another. Both sides of the inner edge are separated by two large trees, and in total, this edge includes 24 small figures under a porch-like structure. A band of colorful flowers, butterflies, and birds on a gilt background runs around the inner edge above the figural scenes.

The outside of the bowl includes two bands of human figures similar to the one on the inner edge of the bowl, separated by a gilt band with curling blue design also included on the interior. One figural band includes five ladies and one man in an enclosed garden greeting two men approaching a red and gold fence. A lady writes at a desk while four others play musical instruments behind her, all of whom are on a porch as an elite person approaches with two servants. A band above this scene includes workers sowing the fields. There are two framed panels on opposite sides of the exterior of the bowl including a seated man and Chinese characters in each, with a larger red character usually included to indicate the artist or writer of the text. A floral design decorates the thin bottom part of the bowl which lifts it up from whatever surface it sits on, and the colors used to decorate this porcelain bowl include pink, purple, yellow, orange, blue, gold, and black.

Famille rose or Rose Family ceramics were first made in the late Kangxi period (late 17th, early 18th century) and reached their peak popularity under Emperor Yongzheng, immediately following Kangxi. They are given this name because rose, pink, and red colors dominate in most examples. The famille rose vessels were favored over the previous famille vert (green family) porcelains because of their opacity and increased range of colors. Some scholars have suggested that Andreas Cassius of Leyden invented this technique around 1650 and it then made its way to China with the Jesuits . In this technique the bowl is first painted white and then the designs are added in colored enamels. During the Qianlong reign in China, famille rose porcelain was referred to as yangcai, meaning “foreign colors”. This was either because of the new techniques used that included imported materials, or because of the increasing popularity of such items in foreign export markets . Famille rose ceramics were originally exported as dinnerware but later became decorative objects as they are now.

Statue of an Arab Rug Trader

by: Madelyn Zachara

Medium: Cold painted bronze

Date: late 19th or early 20th century

Place of Origin: Vienna

Dimensions: 7x7.5x9.5 inches

Provenance: Bequest of Edith H.K. Fetherston

This is a delicate figurine of a Middle Eastern carpet seller holding up his wares and aggressively staring off into space, possibly at his potential customer. The man wears a red and gold turban and a green jerkin topped by a long black fringed vest. A bushy black beard outlines his strong jaw and cheekbones framing his large ears and prominent nose. He holds up an Islamic rug woven with a boldly colored complex geometric pattern. It falls naturally to the ground, creating two rolls on the outer corners and draping inwards in one of the upper corners. There was a great deal of attention paid to the detail of the carpet, with each individual fringe represented and naturalistic creases forming where the man grasps the corners. This work is located in the reception room. It sits on top of a dresser across from a large bureau containing Japanese and Chinese objects.

The statue of an Arab Rug Trader was produced in the foundry of Franz Xaver Bergmann(1861-1936). Bergmann’s foundry mark is stamped on the underside of the carpet. It consists of a two handled urn with a capital B. This same mark can be found on the bottom of the right foot of the carpet seller.

Bergman was a Viennese man who inherited the studio from his father in 1860. He sometimes designed the works he sold but did not make them himself. Instead, he hired artists and sculptors to bring his creations to life. The Arab Rug Trader was one of a number of carpet seller figures produced by the foundry at this time. They all vary slightly. The color of their clothing differs, and their poses, and the carpets they hold vary in appearance. Many works produced by Bergman’s studio depicted “oriental” and erotic subject matter or scenes with animals. They were made with a process known as “cold-painted bronze.” which was a technique that involved casting the pieces and then applying a type of dry paint to the works without the use of heat. The painting was most often done by women working from home.

Edith Fetherston’s Statue of an Arab Rug Trader engages the viewer by drawing the eye in with the folded edges of the carpet, traveling across the patterns and then to where the upper corner is gathered in his hand, and finally onto the appearence of the rug seller. The finesse with which the artist depicted the bulky clothing and menacing expression attract the viewer’s attention and provoke further study of the figure. The portrayal of the rug seller as a threatening dark skinned man in exotic clothes presents an orientalist stereotype of a Middle Eastern man that would not be acceptable today.

Fetherston might have acquired the Arab Rug Trader in the late summer months of 1929 during her travels in Europe. Although this is a European product, it reflects Fetherston’s taste for exotic objects.

Sun Porch

Short Sword

by: Kasey Bailey

Medium: Steel, Brass, Tortoise Shell, Wood

Date: 19th Century

Place of Origin: Asia

Date of Purchase: 02/28/1972

Measurements: length 19 inches, width 2 inches, height 1 inch

In Edith Fetherston’s collection, there exists a short sword that now sits on a table in the sleeping porch. The sword is nineteen inches long and two inches wide and is Asian in origin. The handle of the double-edged sword is made out of wood and covered with an overlay of brass. The wooden sheath is covered in tortoiseshell and brass fittings on the flat sides and end of the sheath. The decoration present on the hilt of the sword are flower motifs surrounding the symbol for “happiness”.

The sword could be of Chinese origin. Historically, Chinese double-edged swords date back to the Zhou Dynasty (1045 BCE to 256 BCE). Then they were typically made out of bronze, but steel was later used.3 The earliest versions of Chinese short swords were often without a guard separating the blade and the hilt, implying that these weapons were meant for thrusting-type attacks, indicating that they were meant for close combat. Edith Fetherston’s sword has a hilt but it is small and insubstantial. Along with the presence or lack of a crossguard, there was an assortment of other stylistic and functionality variations, ranging from blade length, to decorative choices, to sword profile4.

The symbol for happiness appears five separate times on the sword and its sheath. Bats surround the symbol in each of the brass fittings. They are fairly naturalistic in shape and proportion, but lack any intricate details. At the very tip of the sheath, the depiction of the bats differ. Here, they appear to resemble a dragon-like creatures. In China, bats symbolize good fortune and long life. According to Welch’s book, Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery, bats can also symbolize happiness.

Visible towards the hilt of the knife are plant leaves and stems, and other similar foliage imagery, as well. To the people of China, a vine represents “an ‘unbroken, or never-ending’ wish”. In conjunction with the bats and the Chinese symbol meaning “happiness”, the sheath and sword convey the message of “long lasting happiness”.

Statue of a Standing Buddha

by: Nicole Adams

Material: Gilded Bronze

Date: approximately 18th Century

Origin: Thailand

Date Purchased: 1972

Dimensions: H: 11 inches D: 39 inches

Placed near the foot of the bed in Edith Fetherston’s Sun Porch is the Statue of a Standing Buddha. The majority of the gilded surface is smooth, without raised decoration.. Beginning with the top of the work, the Buddha’s hair, including the ushnisha (the domed-bun on top of the head), is decorated with raised beading. The elongated earlobes and face are smooth. The Buddha’s eyes are shut but his eyebrows are raised allowing the viewer to infer the Buddha’s enlightened emotion from within. The Buddha stands upright with its arms bent at right angles and palms facing outward in the double Abhaya Mudra, a gesture of reassurance, meaning, have no fear. The two hands have extremely long fingers. The Buddha stands on a circular platform on top of three tiered octagonal platforms. The tiers are decorated with smaller repeating patterns. There is a opening between the Buddha’s barefeet and a metal rod in between the circular and octagonal platforms indicates that the statue might have had a moving function prior to its acquisition at Packwood House. Note that the second finger tip has been broken off and the statue has been repainted.

Edith Fetherston's fascination with this work was possibly because of the unusual pose the Buddha stands in. In the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, there is a similar stone Standing Buddha from Thailand during the Mon-Dvaravati period. The stone Standing Buddha from New York raises its left hand with an open vertical palm. The stone Buddha is damaged, but the remains of its right arm indicate it would have also been raised at the similar ninety degree angle with a matching open palm gestures. The Metropolitan Museum notes that during this period new iconography was developed including the pose the Packwood House Buddha takes. The open palm facing outward at the viewer, similar to the western gesture of indicating a request to halt, is the pose of the Abhaya Mudra representing imparting fearlessness. It was not uncommon to see a standing figure of Buddha, but a work of the Buddha with two raised hands is unique to Thai depictions of the Buddha. In India this gesture this Buddha is expressing is represented by raising just the right hand.

Two small details of this work imply that overtime parts might have been lost. The first, on the top of this Buddha’s ushnisha there is a small opening. This could have been for a flame rising up from the Buddha’s ushnisha. According to Bucknell Professor James Mark Shields of the Bucknell Comparative Humanities Department, “the flame (and occasionally lotus) ushnisha is most common in Thai statuary.” A Buddha in the small Midori Gallery in Miami, Florida, shows a similar Abhaya Mudra and a flame ushnisha. The gallery notes that the “flaming ushnisha, [is a] symbol of enlightened consciousness.” The second missing detail suggests the work had a moving function, the first tier of the pedestal has a stake that runs through the tier and is visibly through the feet of this Buddha. The Midori Gallery Buddha also stands on a very similar pedestal, but claims it is “double lotus dais”, which could possibly represent religious enlightenment. The lotus is commonly known as the symbol for religious enlightenment in Asian art. The Midori claims no moving function of the pedestal, so it is possibly that the stake in the Packwood House object was for support or balance of the heavy bronze statue. The Packwood House Buddha stands on a far more abstracted pedestal, but there is still visual similarities between the two.

Unfortunately, the original religious meaning of this work is easy to overlooked in the current placement in the Sun Porch in Packwood House. Fetherston was most likely unaware of the meaning of the Buddha’s hand gesture because it is not easily seen with the work standing beside a bed. The guest bedroom has many other books and small objects that emphasize Fetherston’s interest in Asia. The Buddha’s only function in this room seems to be decorative.

The records of Fetherston’s Statue of a Standing Buddha do not offer a date or place of production. The forms of the work suggest Thailand was the statue’s origin or at least the origin of inspiration for the artist who created this work. That relatively well preserved gilded bronze and the stylistic similarities to the Midori Gallery Buddha that is dated circa 1720 is evidence that the Packwood House Statue of a Standing Buddha was created around the 18th century or that it imitates a work from this period.

Krishna with his adoptive parents Yashoda and Nanda

by: Madelyn Zachara

Medium: Watercolor

Date: Undated

Place of Origin: Jaipur, Rajasthan Province, India

Dimensions: approx. 8x11 inches

Provenance: Bequest of Edith H.K. Fetherston

This work is likely an illustration from a book. It depicts the god Vishnu, also known as the Lord of Four Arms, in his human incarnation as Krishna with his adoptive parents. Krishna is seen here on the far right side of the work as a small, blue boy. He is peering and digging into a large, decorated earthenware pot that most likely contains ghee, or clarified butter. Krishna as a boy is frequently depicted in this type of scene of mischief. His adoptive father, Nanda, is shown seated on the left side of the work holding Balarama, the adoptive brother of Krishna. Krishna’s adoptive mother, Yashoda, is seen between Nanda and Krishna, and appears to be in motion, moving toward Krishna. This grouping of figures appears to be outside of some sort of pavilion. A wall separates the figures from a green landscape in the background.

There is some damage on the work. Some of the ink on the upper and lower left corners have smudged from water damage. Other areas of the work are somewhat soiled and some pigment on the outer borders is flaking off. However, this damage is minimal and does not obscure the nature of the work. This piece is unique to the house, as there are no other works with Hindu subject matter currently on display. The work is located in the hallway outside of the bathroom next to Edith Fetherston’s sleeping porch.

According to Professor Karline McLain in the Religion Department at Bucknell University, this work could be from the province of Rajasthan. This determination is based on the designs of Yashoda’s clothing and the fusing of Islamic and Hindu elements in the work. The area of Rajasthan is famous for similar types of small paintings that ultimately stem from the medieval Mughal tradition of miniature illustration. The style of this work is reminiscent of Mughal miniature painting, which developed in the late 16th century and was inspired by Persian painting with Hindu influences. The designs on Yashoda’s skirt also suggest a Rajasthani origin. Her skirt imitates the textiles decorated with woodblock prints that were traditionally made in this region. The white bands on her arms and her head covering are also specific to the area and time period.

The small inscription just below the frame at the top of the work is a Hindustani version of the common Sanskrit name for the Lord of Four Arms, which describes the god Vishnu, for whom Krishna is an avatar.

Works like this could be purchased in bazaars close to temples associated with Krishna, such as the Chantubhuj Temple in Jaipur. Both locals and foreigners could easily visit the markets due to the presence of a railroad in Jaipur. At the markets goods of all kinds could be purchased, such as paintings, rugs, and small figurines.


Yellow Glazed Dragon (Gōngfù)

by: Danielle Retcho

Medium: Terracotta

Date: 19th century

Place of Origin: Chinese

Measurements: 1.7 feet x 1.7 feet x 7 inches

Provenance: Acquired by Edith Fetherston

Dragon side (left image) and front (right, top image) and Elephant-like paired object (right, bottom image)

This Yellow Glazed Dragon (Gōngfù) is paired with an elephant-like creature of a similar size, color and style on either side of the window in Edith Fetherston’s Gallery. The dragon features a protruding nose with a closed mouth, however fire is still billowing out of its mouth creating deeply incised swirls that encircle the object. This illusion of fire was used to ward off evil. Additionally it has bulging eyes, as if to show that it is an animate object who can scare anyone approaching as well as evil spirits. Originally creatures like this were attached to imperil building rooflines serving as apotropaic figures. During the 19th century a person entering the grounds that these dragons were guarding would have understood their symbolism and would have feared them if they had ill-intentions. This particular dragon played a role in a building’s drainage system, explaining the pierced holes on the top of its head, open mouth and nostrils. In addition to these holes, the object is hollow reducing its weight. Over time, the temples have been destroyed and these roofline decorations became available for purchase.

The specific provenance of this object is unknown but it indicates Fetherston’s interest in the Orient. Like Isabella Stewart Gardner, a collector with a love for Asian art, Fetherston loved collecting exotic objects like this Gōngfù. Most likely, it would have originally been placed on the roofline of a Chinese temple to ward off evil and to provide drainage through the holes in its nose and mouth.

Yellow Glazed Dragon (Gōngfù) has been misrepresented as being a “Foo Dog” when it is really a Gōngfù or dragon. The term “Foo Dog” is a western construct, most likely created by the first Westerners who confused Chinese representations of lions at entrances with dogs. In Chinese culture these lions were called shizi, and were typically used as guardian figures at the gate of an imperial building. They were usually a pair, with one male and one female. Neither the yellow dragon nor its mate in the gallery or the green figures labelled as “Foo Dogs “in the reception room at Packwood House are lions. All four appear to be roof decorations and not shizi at all.

Floral Dish

by: Stephanie Dressler

Medium: Porcelain

Date: 19th century

Place of Origin: Japan

Provenance: Object was made by Sugimaratei for Lord Tibrang

Measurements: Height: 5.75 inches Length: 9 inches Width 8 inches

This square-shaped dish is an eye-catching work due to its glossy finish and bright colors. Upon close inspection, the viewer will notice the elaborate detail and complexity of design used in the pattern on the outside of the piece. It is covered entirely with a deep blue, red, and gold floral print. The sides slope out and then curve in at the base. It has a flat, square bottom. On either side of the dish there are two rectangular handles that curve out at the top. The lid is a shallow, dome-shape topped by a rectangular handle whose ends curl up. Near the base of the dish is a blue floral band with red and gold flowers on each side. The corners of the dish have a sinuous band surrounding a form made of hexagon shapes or circles with a large blue dot in the center. In between the floral design is a light blue background.

This floral porcelain dish was made in 19th century Japan. The dish, which can be considered Imari ware, fits very well within the walls of the Packwood house and it can be found in the Gallery room. Imari ware is a kind of porcelain ware that was made in Japan and produced for large exports. The floral dish can be considered Imari ware due to its color scheme. Cobalt blue underglaze with red and gold overglaze are the tell-tale signs of Imari porcelain.

Edith Fetherston collected many Asian objects, from porcelain dishes, figurines and statues to larger items such as furniture and paintings. Many of these, like the Imari ware floral dish, come from Japan.

Edith's Bedroom

Girl with Lotus on Mirror

by: Rebecca Reeve

Medium: Reverse glass painting on mirror

Date: 19th Century

Place of Origin: China

Provenance: Received on 02/28/1972

Measurements: 22 inches x 16.5 inches x 0.75 inches

Reverse paintings on mirrors, like Girl with Lotus, were made during the 18th and 19th centuries in Canton (now Guangzhou), China for export to the West. Similar to the method used to produce reverse glass paintings, the artists creating these mirrored works first painted the foreground figures and then layered on those in the background. There were two methods that artists used to create the reflective surface behind the image. The first was painting a layer of a reflective metal, such as tin, onto the back of the entire painting after it had dried. In the second method an artist would take a mirror that had already been produced and sketch the composition of the work onto the back. The metal on the backing of the mirror would then be scraped off in the places that the paint would be placed. Artists would paint these blank spots in the same way that they would paint a reverse glass painting.

This work in Edith Fetherston’s bedroom depicts a young Chinese girl in a red robe, glancing down at a pot of lotus flowers while leaning upon a glass table. The features of her face are simplified in a generalized representation of an Asian woman as opposed to a portrait of a specific individual. The persimmon on the table is a symbol of joy. She is also depicted holding a folded fan, an indication of status at the time of the production of the work. A more subtle implication of status instead of a blatant show is suggested in the way the fan is folded instead of spread out to show the decorated fabric inside.

The color red is used in this painting as both a contrast to the many green objects representative of nature and life and as a way to highlight the many symbols found in the work such as the persimmon, the flowers in her hair and the kimono. The lotus flowers, indicating the pursuit of enlightenment, and the bamboo leaves peeking in from the top of the frame combine to make the viewer question whether or not the figure is in an indoor or outdoor setting. While the reflective surface of the mirror creates a more decorative quality to the work, it also enhances the ambiguity of the setting. For the European eye, the lack of a singular perspective or the illusion of depth adds to the ambiguity of the work. This can be seen especially in the way the pot of lotus flowers is precariously balanced on the edge of the table.

Girl with Fan on Glass

by: Rebecca Reeve

Medium: Reverse glass painting

Date: 19th Century

Place of Origin: China

Provenance: Received on 02/28/1972

Measurements: 28 inches x 18 inches x 1.0 inch

The Girl With a Fan on Glass is a 19th century Chinese reverse painting on glass and was originally acquired by Edith Fetherston in 1972. The practice of reverse painting on glass became popular in China in the 18th and 19th century (Mallet). The expansion of this technique into China is accredited to Father Castiglione, a Jesuit missionary who travelled to Peking in 1715 (Mallett). Much of the glass used in the production of these works was imported from England due to the higher quality of glass that was created there (Mallett). The Chinese, who had less experience producing glass often made a product that was much thinner and more brittle than the high quality glass produced in England (Mallett).

In creating a reverse glass painting, artists have to work backwards and paint the image in reverse so that it could be seen correctly when flipped over. Highlights and figures in the foreground must be painted before the rest of the work could be layered on. Chinese artists typically used thin, translucent layers of paint, creating a work that ended up being equally as detailed when looked at from either side, as opposed to Europeans who painted thicker layers. (Wikipedia).

This work depicts a Chinese woman draped in a blue robe, holding a fan while leaning on the table. Her figure centered in the piece, emphasizes the fact that she is standing alone in the room. This focus on a single figure was more popular in the 19th century and breaks from the earlier tradition of painting landscapes instead of human figures (Mallett). This painting is most likely not a portrait because of the generalized features of her face such as the thin, crescent shaped eyebrows and pinched lips. It is also stylized in terms of the apparent lack of shadows in both the figure’s face and the robe, diverging from the European tradition of illusionism. The color red, used to symbolize good luck and joy in China, is a unifying factor in the painting, drawing the eye around from the curtain to the robe down to the cushion and back up to the top of the stack of books on the table. The blue color of the girl’s robe contrasts with the red to draw attention to her.

The fan that she is holding is a flat, round fan traditionally made of silk pulled over a wooden frame. Fans were originally created to keep cool by blocking the sunlight but they quickly became seen as a works of art symbolizing status and beauty. This round fan is decorated with flowers, as was typical at the time, and was seen as a symbol of wealth and long life (

Lamp: Figure Holding a Lotus

by: Nicole Adams

Medium: Ivory

Place of Origin: most likely China

Dimensions: H: 9.4 inches L: 6 inches

On the small table beside the couch in the back of Edith Fetherston’s bedroom is a lamp with a beige, fringed lampshade mounted on top of an ivory figurine. The true focus of the work is the wonderfully detailed figurine holding a large lotus flower. It is made of ivory that has darkened with age to a light brown. The figure’s dark hair is pulled up in a bun or ushnisha on top of its disproportionately large head. Although the figure’s closed eyes and slightly smiling mouth suggest internal calm and happiness, the raised eyebrows suggest emotional intensity. The sweeping and circling garment delineates the figure’s motion as it grips a large lotus flower. The lotus flower is the same size as the figure’s head. It holds the lotus right against its cheek. The figure is totally covered by the sweeping garment that is detailed by incised lines. This robe has a wrap style neckline that has a patterned hem. The sleeves have incredibly large openings that appear to blow in the wind adding to the dynamic flow of the figure. The figure stands on a white pedestal of rock mounted onto a metal pedestal.

Although there is no record of whom this figure was meant to represent, evidence suggests this is a Buddhist figure. Comparing this work to the Statue of A Standing Buddha in the Packwood House Museum’s guest bedroom, reveals some similar features. Both have the ushnisha, elongated ears, and fingers, and a meditative facial expression. Clearly this is a Buddhist figure, more specifically the flowing drapery and large lotus flower aligns with typical depictions of the Buddhist Bodhisattva Guanyin or Goddess of Mercy ( The lotus symbolizes religious transformation in Buddhist imagery. Like an undeveloped soul, a lotus begins life in the dark mud of a pond then grows up towards the light until it reaches the surface and blossoms as does the enlightened soul. Holding a blossomed lotus indicates enlightenment. The design of the pedestal the figure stands on could possibly derive from a Chinese garden tradition. The Astor Garden in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has a wonderful display of a similar rock formations.

The lamp was created for the figurine as the structure of the lamp bends behind and up the back of the figure as to not interfere with the original structure of the figurine. The figurine’s original religious meaning is lost with its incorporation into a western household object , making the lamp similar to many popular Asian motifs that were used in Chinoiserie art movement during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Red Lacquer Dressing Table

by: Daisy Fornengo

Medium: Wood, Black & White Paint, Gilt, Red Lacquer, Brass

Date: 19th Century

Place of Origin: China

Dimensions: length 43.5 inches, width 19 inches, height 45 inches (open); or length 23.5 inches, width 16.5 inches, height 35 inches (closed)

This dressing table in Edith Fetherston’s bedroom is fit with a folding mirror and hinged side expansions above a single drawer, allowing for an extension of tabletop space. It is decorated in red lacquer with chinoiserie motifs. The side panels sit on two wedges that form an arch to hold them up and fold onto the table when the expansions are not being used. A curvilinear apron with intricately carved and painted flower motifs sits above the legs. The body is rectangular with one large drawer, a plain, brass handle centrally positioned among a detailed rendering of vases, flowers, and two symmetrical, white flying moths. Four geometric motifs are carved into the corners of the drawer. The legs, back, sides, and edges of the mirror are decorated with an ornate floral design.

When the mirror is folded down onto the table, a scene of figures enjoying a meal can be seen. The side panels close to reveal a river scene with two sampan boats on the right panel, a family hanging laundry and drinking tea. The left panel includes men collecting wood. An East Asian fretwork design frames each panel. The inside of the left panel depicts aristocratic figures leisurely sitting under two canopies on a river, while the rightmost panel shows a man riding away from his family on an ox, and two figures carrying long poles across another bridge.

When the top panel is opened and the mirror is raised, an outdoor scene of celebration is revealed. A banner held up by a figure in the center of the composition includes the characters zhuangyuan jidi, the title given to those who successfully passed the jinshi test. The successful candidate is seated under a canopy to the right. The jinshi test is the highest degree attainable in the Chinese dynastic era civil service examinations.

Vanities such as this one have evolved throughout time, often serving as perfect descriptions of the popular tastes of both the period and location. Fetherston purchasing this particular style of vanity emphasizes the American attraction to Chinoiserie, the Western interpretation of East Asian artistic traditions. The style gained popularity in the early 18th Century due to increased trade with and exposure to East Asian culture, leading to a developed a fascination with the exotic. Chinoiserie was vastly included in bedrooms and women’s dressing areas like Fetherston’s, making these spaces more casual and associating such an unorderly style with femininity, in contrast to typical masculine interiors of form and symmetry. Although vanities like this one first began to develop in Europe in the 17th century, earlier forms of cosmetic boxes from which the vanity was inspired could have been seen in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. When the vanity table as we know it today became popular in Europe, the women of importance, or with the luxury to have her own dressing space, would have vanity tables as a place to prepare for the day, putting on makeup and jewelry. The popularity of this morning ritual accompanied by the dressing table represents the importance this culture, especially women, hold to their own appearance. The rise of the middle class also brought with it the expansion of the dressing table as a luxurious item not only for the elite, but a necessity for all women. The vanity table is named after women spending excessive amounts of time looking in the mirror and attempting to perfect her appearance. It can also serve as a symbol of putting too much into our looks, and in turn, neglecting our virtues.

Chinese Lacquered Plaque

by: Camdin Bartholomew

Medium: Wood

Date: Early 20th Century

Place of Origin: China

Measurements: Height 39.5 inches Width 17.25 inches

This plaque acquired by Edith Fetherston, could have been purchased during her travels to East Asia, or from a Chinese art dealer in New York City in the 20th century. The plaque currently is displayed to the right of the doorway to Edith’s art studio.

This relief Chinese plaque features a main scene with two Chinese boys painted gold with red accents. Both boys have full faces with red highlights, accentuating their round cheeks, dark slanted eyes, high arched eyebrows, and long, thick earlobes. They wear gold robes bordered in red over matching loose pants. The child on the left holds a partially opened box from which gold smoke swirls out and above the child’s head. Appearing wistfully from the swirling cloud of gold smoke is a bat. The child on the right side of the plaque holds the stem of a lotus flower that blooms above his head. At the top of the plaque, there is an inscription of carved Chinese characters painted in gold. The bottom of the plaque reveals an intricately carved floral design in gold and red on top of a green background. At the center of the base, there are a leaping goat and griffin with his wings spread wide.

The objects they are holding suggest that the boys represent the Chinese He and He also known as the Immortals of Harmony and Union, who began to be depicted as young boys during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Most commonly, they are used to symbolize peace and a happy marriage in Chinese culture. Also representative of Chinese culture are the lotus and the bat. The lotus flower symbolizes enlightenment and knowledge, while the bat symbolizes longevity of life. The griffin at the bottom of the plaque may be representative of Feng-huang, an immortal bird in Chinese mythology. Feng-huang is also known for being representative of high virtue and grace, and also the sacred symbolic joining of a man and woman and their marital harmony. The combination of these symbols in Chinese culture on this plaque suggests a happy and fulfilling life, and also, marriage. This type of plaque could have been a gift to a couple on their wedding to wish good fortune of the marriage and their life together. However, the inscription at the top of the plaque suggests a brand or business logo. The plaque could have been commissioned by a company as a gift for their customer. In this case, the plaque could suggest good wishes or harmony towards the recipient rather than a happy marriage. One can also determine the business nature of the plaque due to its medium. The title of the piece, given by the Packwood House, suggests the plaque is painted with traditional Chinese lacquer. However, if examined, one can determine the plaque was painted with a thinner paint rather than the thicker based lacquer.


Black Chinese Papier-mâché Tray

by: Summer Grenyion-Smith

Medium: Papier-mâché tray coated in lacquer, mother of pearl

Date: 18th - 19th century

Place of Origin: China

Date of Purchase: Unknown

Measurements: 14 inches x 6 inches

In the pantry at Packwood House, there is a black papier-mâché tray painted with a landscape showing ornate gold pavilions and golden tree branches. The roofs of the pavilions, the rails of a small bridge, and areas of the ground are decorated with inlaid shell. The viewer’s eye travels across the bridge to the pagoda and stops there because of the flatness of the pagoda. To the right of the bridge, a boat appears to be approaching. The black and gold colour scheme when complemented with the inlaid shell gives the piece a regal appearance.

The subtle luster of the tray resembles 19th-century oriental lacquer trays that were made for the European consumers. Papier-mâché is a cheaper material imitating the appearance of the more expensive lacquer, and thus is more affordable to the rising middle class. The tray appears to be primarily decorative as it only held aesthetic value.

Papier-mâché, meaning “chewed paper,” is a process named by the French that originated in China. Papier-mâché is prepared using one of two methods. In the first method, paper is torn into thin strips and soaked in paste until fully saturated. Once saturated, the strips are placed onto a surface, such as wired mesh, and is then allowed to dry slowly. When the papier-mâché dries, the material’s form can be finalized through cutting, sanding, painting, or all of the above. The second method involves the paper being soaked overnight or boiled until the paper dissolves into a pulp consistency. After the paper transforms into pulp, the water is drained and adhesive is added. The papier-mâché is then applied to a form and sculpted into shape. The earliest accounts of papier-mâché recorded were in China. It reached the height of its popularity in Europe in the 18th century when the market for chinoiserie grew as well.

The creation of Edith Fetherston’s tray was most likely inspired the popularization of chinoiserie in the 18th century, but this is a more modern work. With a high demand for their goods, the Chinese began using the cheaper material of papier-mâché to imitate the more high-end of lacquer.

Satsuma Covered Jar

by: Camdin Bartholomew

Medium: paste porcelain

Date: 19th Century

Place of Origin: Japan

Measurements: Height 20 inches Diameter 12.5 inches

This porcelain jar features two main figural scenes. It is on display in the pantry, to the left of John Fetherston’s office.

A turquoise blue and purple crossed pattern serve as the background for the two large figural scenes on either side. On display is a scene of several Japanese men and women on a white background. The men, dressed in large elaborate kimonos with gold details, each have long, thin, gray mustaches and eyebrows and red hats. Two men are seated at a low table playing go, a game which involves moving black and white stones across a gridded board. The women surround the men seated at the tables and are wearing less extravagant kimonos with their hair in a bun tied in red ribbon on top of their heads. Their faces are white and round with bright red pinched lips. One woman stands towards the front of the scene cradling a small child who is reaching towards a man to her left. Surrounding the scene is a floral design in burnt-orange and gold.

On the opposite side of the jar, is another scene with 16 men dressed in red and gold kimonos. The men, some seated while others standing, appear to be gathered around a central man who has blown a small creature from his mouth. There is no indication of who the central man may be, however the other men appear to have their attention focused on the figure. Other men in the photo also are depicted carrying small plants and what may be miniature replicas of buildings.

Zodiac Medallions

Above the two featured scenes, 12 gold medallions, representing the signs of the Japanese zodiac, circle around the top of the jar. The Japanese zodiac is centered around a 12 year cycle, with each year represented as a different animal. The characteristics of each animal in the zodiac is said to be found in individuals born to the designated year of the animal. For example, an individual born in 2015 would be born in the year of the sheep. Based on the sign of the sheep, the individual would be passionate and demonstrate artistic ability.

Six more medallions are found around the lid of the jar. Each medallion depicts a unique dragon. The Japanese dragons, known as tatsu, are important mythological creatures in the Shinto Religion, and they are typically represented as water deities. An important dragon to note is the Blue Dragon, who is the protector of the zodiac. The blue dragon may be depicted above the 12 zodiac medallions on the jar as a symbol of protection. Continuing to the top of the lid, a gold eggplant rests on its side.

The Satsuma style of decoration, which is found in the title of the jar by the Packwood House, is accredited to the former Satsuma region of Japan, present day southern Kyūshū. Satsuma decoration, originating in Korea, was brought to Japan by Korean captives who assimilated into Japanese life in the following years. The Satsuma style pottery was produced only in the Satsuma region until the 19th century when it gained popularity throughout Japan and then the West in the mid to late 19th century. Thanks to the popularity of this style, objects like Fetherston’s covered jar began to be mass produced. By the end of the 19th century, there were over 20 factories producing the porcelain works. Fetherston’s jar most likely came from this era production in Japan. The featured scene of the Kimono clad men and women was typical of mid-late 19th century Satsuma production which was inspired by the West’s interest in newly-opened Japan. These scenes were painted for the consumption of the West and thus, it is most likely that Fetherston’s jar is not an original piece from the Satsuma region, but an imitation.

Bottom of Jar

Besides the subject matter of the featured scene, there are other indications to suggest that Fetherston’s jar is not an original Satsuma jar. One may notice the absence of the Mon family crest, which is a red circle with a cross, typically found on the bottom of the jar. Authentic Satsuma pieces were marked with the crest to indicate their origin from the Satsuma region. Fetherston’s jar does not contain this crest, thus it was most likely created in a factory or by an artist who mimicked Satsuma pottery. Further, true Satsuma ware contains a significant amount of gold paint that distinguishes its style. Fetherston’s jar lacks the amount of gold paint that would be found on true Satsuma porcelain ware. Overall, Fetherston’s jar, while beautiful and decorative in manner and appearance, is most likely a an attempt to recreate Satsuma design and probably came from one of the many factories creating imitations of the wares in the late 19th century.

Red Flower Bowl

by: Stephanie Dressler

Medium: Porcelain

Date: mid-19th century

Measurements: Diameter: 11 inches

Provenance: Packwood House Museum Collection

This medium-sized, circular bowl is decorated with a white, glossy glaze that is very smooth to the touch. Along the inner edge of the bowl are red and burgundy ornamental flowers alternating with a decorative checkered pattern. The inside and the outside edges of the bowl are decorated with rectangular vases from which red, burgundy, and blue flowers emerge on intertwined stems. The lyrical pattern and bright colours make this a memorable work.

This bowl, in their aptly named Flora pattern, was produced by the Petrus Regout Factory in Maastricht, Holland. Established in 1836, the Petrus Regout Factory was originally a glass and pottery factory. Petrus Regout also produced many ceramic patterns that copied Chinese and Japanese porcelains.

This bowl, located in the Card Room, is an example of the type of object that can be found in Edith Fetherston’s collection. Her collecting, which might seem haphazard to some, was based on her own taste; she acquired what she liked. This bowl probably appealed to her because it imitated the Chinese and Japanese ceramics of which she was fond. Fetherston’s collection as a whole creates a picture of her passion for art.

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