Attributed to Zhao Chang
(Possibly Northern Song Dynasty, 959-1016)
Peonies and Quails
ink and color on silk, framed
signed, inscribed by Ke Jiusi and dated year Yimao (1315), one artist seal, Zhao Chang, fifteen collectors' seals.
note: For a similar example, please refer to National Palace Museum, 000051-00000, Peonies by Chao Ch'ang.
Visible: 73 3/4 x 45 in., 187.5 x 114.3 cm.
Property from the Estate of Alexandra Emery Moore, Cincinnati, Ohio
Alexandra Emery Moore, an adventurous creative with an unimpeachable eye, was the first-born daughter to John Josiah Emery and Lela Amelia, a prominent family with ties to New York and Cincinnati. Among her relatives include Audrey Emery, a socialite who married on of the last Russian Grand Dukes, and John J. Emery, a great patron of the Cincinnati Art Museum. In her youth, she debuted in both London and New York, and journeyed to China with a friend, which instilled within her a deep passion for travel. Indeed, her acceptance of a marriage proposal from Benjamin Moore was contingent upon receipt of a ring and promise of a honeymoon in China.
Mr. Moore hailed from an old New York familyÂ—Â“A Visit from St. NicholasÂ” was penned by a forebear on their family farm, Chelsea, now the vibrant neighborhood in Manhattan by the same nameÂ—and trained as a lawyer at Harvard. Nevertheless, after his marriage, his new bride requested that he forgo working in favor of accompanying her on adventures across the world.
While on their honeymoon, the young couple was entranced by the views as they floated along their houseboat tour through the Yangtze River, and were particularly drawn to a stark white house under a black roof reflected in the water. Upon their return to the United States, they purchased 100 acres of land in Oyster Bay in Long Island, and founded the associated nearby village of Muttontown, of which Mr. Moore became the first mayor. Drawing inspiration from the architecture she saw during her travels in China, the young Mrs. Moore collaborated with renowned architect William Adams Delano (of Delano & Aldrich) to construct an estate on the land combining Chinese and French Renaissance styles. The house, fittingly named Â“ChelseaÂ” included an undulating roof, internal court, moon gate, and a moat, and was furnished with her purchases from around the world. Her first trips to China, during which time she likely purchased the large Peonies and Quails and elaborate floor screen to adorn her home, were foundational in shaping her taste and aesthetic throughout her life. Moore granted the estate and mansion to Nassau county upon her passing, and the property from her collection has been gifted to various institutions or remained in the family to the present.
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