Sarah Stone

Around 1777, Stone was employed by Sir Ashton Lever (1729– 1788)—a collector and businessman and the owner of a museum of natural history and ethnography in Leicester Square, London. The seventeen-year-old artist was tasked with making watercolor studies of the museum’s ornithological, zoological, and ethnographical holdings, many of which were obtained during British expeditions in the 1770s and 1780s. The subject of this work, the greater racket-tailed drongo, is native to Asia and distinguished by its elongated outer tail feathers. Working with a fine brush, Stone brilliantly captured the bird’s iridescent bluish-black plumage. Although the artist received a degree of early success and recognition, her output slowed dramatically after her marriage in 1789.

Sarah Stone
British, 1760–1844
Greater Racket-Tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradiseus), 1782
Watercolor and opaque watercolor over graphite
The Morgan Library & Museum, Purchased on the Charles Ryskamp Fund; 1998.30