Barbara Regina Dietzsch was a painter of flowers and animals. Born in Nuremberg, she was the daughter of painter Johann Israel Dietzsch (1681-1754) and her brother and sister were also painters. 18th century Nuremberg was a major publishing center, and like other female flower painters working there, Dietzsch produced work to be translated into engravings. Based on extant examples of her work, she apparently was prolific as a painter as well, adopting a smooth and precise style in which highly decorative arrangements of colorful flowers were rendered against a dark background on vellum. Sometimes she painted bouquets and sometimes a single plant. The offered pair is typical of her bouquets — ribbon-tied still life compositions, various insects such as beetles or lady bugs on the flowers or leaves, and translucent flying insects, all against a dark backgrounds.
At her death, the existence of over 100 gouache paintings of birds, insects and flowers by Dietzsch in the Grüner residence at Nuremberg was recorded. Today, the Morton Arboretum in Illinois has 72 of her paintings in its collection, and the Fitzwilliam Museum in England and Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh also have significant numbers of works by her.
The frames are labeled: “G. Testolini/ Engraver/ Printseller, Framemaker, Carver Gilder/ 73 Cornhill, London.” This dates the frames to c. 1802-1822, when Gaetano Testolini operated a business at 73, Cornhill in London. Testolini was an engraver and printseller working in Paris and London from 1760 to 1811. He engraved a portrait of George III of England as well as manuals of design. Active in Paris c. 1760-93, he began working in London c. 1793 in partnership with Luigi Schiavonetti and Schiavonetti and Testolini, and then in a solo operation from 1802 to 1822.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning and wear, light scattered flaking. Some scattered minor abrasions and creases to outer edges, not obtrusive. Vellum slightly cockled as usual. Original frames restored.
Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 8, p. 262. (Testolini) and Vol. 3, p. 267 (Dietzch).
Greer, Germaine. The Obstacle Race: The Fortunes of Women Painters and Their Work. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1979. pp. 246-247.
Maxted, Ian. “The London book trades 1775-1800: a preliminary checklist of members” Exeter Working Papers in British Book Trade History. U.K.: Devon Library and Information Services. 20 June 2001. http://www.devon.gov.uk/library/locstudy/bookhist/lont.html (20 April 2004) (Testolini).
White, James J. “Delectus Huntiana 22: A painting of onions by Barbara Regina Dietzch.” Bulletin of the Hunt Institute forBotanical Documentation 11 (2). Fall 1999. p. 10. http://www.huntbot.andrew.cmu.edu/HIBD/HI-PDF/Bulletin-11-2.pdf. (29 April 2005).