Peter Paillou (British, c.1720-c.1790)
Peter Paillou (British, c.1720-c.1790)

A pelican with fish in its bill, a gull, a cormorant and other seabirds, with a sea battle in the distance

Details
Peter Paillou (British, c.1720-c.1790)
A pelican with fish in its bill, a gull, a cormorant and other seabirds, with a sea battle in the distance
oil on canvas, unlined
48 x 71 7/8 in. (121.9 x 182.6 cm.)
in a contemporary pierced giltwood frame
Provenance
Possibly acquired by Robert More M.P. F.R.S. (1703-1780), for the dining room at Linley Hall, Shropshire, and by descent to the present owner.

Brought to you by

Katharine Cooke
Katharine Cooke

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Little is known of Peter Paillou's early career, but he gained repute in the 18th century as a natural history painter and illustrator. He was employed by two leading naturalists and antiquarians of the time, Taylor White (1701-1772) and Thomas Pennant (1726-1798). He illustrated the latter's British Zoology and decorated the hall at Downing, Pennant's house in Flintshire, with several pictures of birds and animals, four of which represented the seasons of the year.
In this picture Paillou's closely observed seabirds swoop down on the pelican, primed for a tussle that is replicated in the naval battle ensuing in the distance. The ships beyond fly white ensigns, of the type used by the French navy until 1794, so it is probable that it shows an Anglo-French engagement, possibly a battle during the Seven Years' War. The subsequent lot shows birds attacking a deer in the foreground, while a village siege takes place beyond, drawing a similar comparison between conflict in nature and conflict between men.

This painting and the following lot are reputed to be amongst the original furnishings of Linley Hall, when newly rebuilt by Robert More in the mid-18th century and the superb frames would certainly support that they might have been part of that scheme. These paintings were amongst the 'heirlooms' which remained at Linley when the house was let in the 1880s and were hanging in the dining room there when Sir Jasper More took back possession of the house in 1948.
;

Related Articles

View all
For your eyes only: 10 ways to auction at Christies
‘Like Gauguin in reverse’: how auction at Christies
Rapper’s delight: the record c auction at Christies

More from Linley Hall, Shropshire: Property from The Collection of The Late Sir Jasper & Lady More

View All
View All