Karl Wilhelm of Hamilton (1668-1754).
Watercolor on vellum.
Late 17th or early 18th century.
Carl Wilhelm de Hamilton belonged to a famous Brussels painter’s family of Scottish origin, whose members worked as court painters in Central Europe. He specialised in forest floor still lifes, hence his sobriquet “Thistle Hamilton”.
De Hamilton was influenced by the Dutch painter Otto Marseus van Schrieck (1619/20 – 1678) who had invented this new subject in painting: so-called forest floors or nature pieces. These were accurate depictions of a micro-cosmos of wild flowers and thistles, butterflies, insects, frogs, toads and even snakes.
Our watercolor illustrates the perfect ornithological knowledge of the artist and the will to represent the animal in the most realistic way possible, in the same vein as his forest paintings.