Carl Ulke
Study of a Water Lily [Victoria Regia]

PROVENANCE: By descent through the family till now.

Signed with initials in pen and black ink CU [partially cut], inscribed in German and dated Januar 1861 (lower right), further inscription Victoria Regia/ Nymphacea s Euryalea/ Polyandria Polygynia, pencil, pen and black ink, and watercolour heightened with white

215 x 315 mm (8 x 12 3/8 in.)

Carl Ulke (1791-1882) spent most of his life in Germany and was by profession a typesetter and publisher. These art works remained in trunks in the family archive until now. Carl Ulke ran a lodge for boarders and had a small art gallery, and from the exquisite botanicals, we can assume that he was Henry Ulkes first teacher. Henry's autobiography mentions his father painting, but more in the context of Henry as a young child coveting his father's pencils. Carl visited the US several times, most probably to visit family members, including his son Henry but went back to Germany and died there. These watercolours are remarkable in their skill and ability and come from a tradition of botanical drawing in Germany such as Georg Dionysius Ehret and Barbara Regina Dietzsch. The fact this artist has not been seen on the market before can be simply explained by the fact the pieces have remained with the family.