Georg Dionysius Ehret

This study of a coral tree and the adjacent watercolor of a bastard balm belong to a group of 108 botanical drawings from the private collection of Margaret Cavendish Bentinck, Duchess of Portland (1715–1785), acquired by the Morgan in 1978. Widowed for over twenty years and extremely wealthy, the duchess devoted herself to the study of natural history, accumulating a vast collection of both foreign and domestic specimens that she referred to as the Portland Museum. Ehret, the foremost botanical illustrator in eighteenth-century England, produced hundreds of watercolors of plants in the duchess’s collection and was retained by her as a drawing teacher.

Georg Dionysius Ehret
German, 1708–1770
Erythrina (Coral Tree), 1761
Opaque watercolor on vellum
The Morgan Library & Museum; 1978.8:19