Bird-and-flower motifs have a very long history in Chinese art and were already well established by the 10th century. In the 17th century, Chinese porcelain, silk and lacquer decorated with this kind of scenery began to make its way to north-western Europe, imported by the European ‘East India’ trading companies. Strong European demand then led to the production of Chinese luxury goods specifically for the western market. One of these hybrid products was pictorial Chinese wallpaper, which began to be imported into Europe in about 1750 and was often decorated with birds and flowers.
The first examples were woodblock-printed, but from the 1760s onwards they were fully hand-painted. In the 1790s the Guangzhou painting workshops began to introduce additional garden-related motifs to the bird-and-flower wallpapers, such as jardinières on stands and bird perches hung from the trees as we see in these examples.
A very pretty trio that are very much a distillation of the eighteenth century appetite for the romanticism of the far east.