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Botanical, Art, Fruit, California Oranges, Grapes, Ellen Schutt, Pair Antique Watercolors, 1910


Ellen Isham Schutt (1873-1955)
California Orange and Malaga Grapes
American: 1910
Watercolors on paper
Grapes signed and dated in ink lower right with additional notations lower left
Orange: 9.25 x 6.75 inches
Grapes: 10.25 x 6.75 inches
$1,700 the pair

Pair of botanical studies of fruit by Ellen Isham Schutt, an illustrator with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Each is rendered in detail, conveying the texture, color and translucency of the fruits. The grapes are light yellow-green and rendered with a slight shadow. The painting incorporates two ruled pencil rectangular borders and inscriptions in ink that indicate this was an official document, including the instruction, “Hold 2 weeks in iced car.” The inscription also includes the word “Malaga,” which could refer to the variety of grapes (Malaga is a yellow-green grape) or to the town of Malaga near Fresno, California, where she made the painting. The orange is shown twice, whole on top and halved below and is rendered with particular realistic precision. Other depictions of oranges by Schutt in the USDA collection follow the same format (see References below). This offered rendering of the orange apparently was either created as a duplicate or not submitted for the official records inasmuch as it is lacking ruled pencil lines and ink inscriptions.

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Ellen Isham Schutt was a botanical illustrator. Born in Arlington, Virginia, she worked from at least 1904 to 1914 as a scientific illustrator with the United States Department of Agriculture. Between 1911 and 1915 she painted at least 286 original watercolors of fruits, mostly apples, which are now in the Special Collections of the University of California at Davis Library. She married in 1917, from which point she was known as Ellen Isham Schutt Wallis. She died in Falls Church, Virginia.

Inscriptions, Malaga Grapes: Signed lower right in ink: “E.I. Schutt — Fresno Calif. Sept. 12-’10. Inscribed lower left: No 49927 S.3. Malaga — Careful Pack. A.H. McKay — Fresno, Calif. Hold 2 weeks in iced car. Orange: Inscribed in pencil, lower right, “1618.”

Condition: Generally fine overall, the colors bright and rich, with only minor toning and wear, and slight irregularities to outer edges of margins.


Agee, Anne. “Ellen Isham Schutt Wallis.” Find a Grave. 25 June 2012. (18 March 2015).

“Citrus sinensis: Dugats Improved.” USDA National Agricultural Library. March 2015).

“Schutt, E.I. (Ellen Isham).” SNAC, University of Virginia. 2 August 2012. (18 March 2015).

“Schutt, Ellen Isham. Pomological Watercolors.” UC Davis University Library. (18 March 2015).

Additional information


20th Century