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Botanical, Art, Garden Flowers, Tulips, Susie Ray, Pair Framed Watercolors, 1987


Susie Ray (born c. 1958)
Pair of Tulip Studies
British: 1987
Watercolor and gouache on paper
Each signed lower center and dated in pencil: Susie Ray ’87
27 x 20 inches, image
37.5 x 30.25 inches, framed
$3,500, the pair

Pair of 20th-century botanical studies of tulips in the style of the 17th-century Dutch artist Pieter Holsteyn the Younger. The large paintings are impressively custom framed by J. Pocker, New York City, each mounted in a French mat set in a  gold leaf frame with black panels, having square gilt blocks in the corners.

Pieter Holsteyn the Younger (1614-1687) was a Dutch painter and engraver of natural history subjects such as birds, flowers and insects. He was trained by his father, who painted on canvas, glass and vellum. In the 17th century, “Tulipomania” swept Holland and a speculative market caused a surge in the price of choice tulip bulbs. Holsteyn capitalized on the trend by producing a series of tulip paintings in the style of the ones shown here, with the blossom, stem and leaves against a white background. These were also reproduced in color-plate books. The minimal, yet highly specific silhouettes and bold colors of the variegated varieties have a timeless quality that appeals to modern tastes and they are still prized by contemporary collectors. Similar tulip studies were also produced in the 18th century, by prominent botanical artists such as Georg Dionysus Ehret (1708-1770).

Product description continues below.


Susie Ray is a British artist who began her artistic career as a scientific illustrator who later became a copyist of Old Master and Modernist paintings. She studied scientific illustration at Chelsea College of Art and Middlesex Polytechnic in England. Beginning in the 1980s, she worked as a botanical illustrator for Kew Gardens. She also illustrated two seashore guidebooks for Collins Gems. She began receiving commissions for trompe l’oeil decorative murals in Britain, Australia and the U.S. In the late 1980s, she began receiving commissions for her faithful and meticulous oil copies of Old Master and Impressionist paintings, and served as the artist in residence at the British Museum for an exhibition comparing original paintings and copies. She built a thriving studio practice as a copyist throughout the 1990s, eventually moving from London to the town of Padstow in Cornwall. She opened Susie Ray Originals Gallery, where she exhibits her copies; she still takes commissions from collectors to reproduce the paintings they love but could not afford. Ray emphasizes that she is a copyist, not a forger, making no effort to make the canvas look aged, and signing her work prominently on the back. She limits herself to copying paintings where the copyright has expired. Her studio practice and methods have been regularly featured in The Guardian, The New York Times, on Sky TV and on the BBC (see References below), among other media outlets.

Condition: Watercolors fine overall with light toning. Frames good, some minor abrasions to gold leaf can be restored at Seller’s expense.


May, Oliver. “Copying Original Masterpiece Paintings.” BBC interview, online at Youtube 19 May 2015. (16 January 2018).

Sturgis, India. “Meet Susie Ray: copyist of the art world’s greatest paintings.” The Telegraph. 26 March 2017. (16 January 2018).

“Susie Ray Biography.” Susie Ray Originals. 2013. (16 January 2018).

Additional information


18th Century