Mortimer L. Menpes:
A Tea House, Shanghai, circa 1909
Framed (ref: 5699)
Gouache and oil on board
12 1/2 x 15 3/4 in. (32 x 40 cm)
Tags: Mortimer L. Menpes architecture
Provenance: M E Rich, sold Sotheby's, lot 1 8.3.1978; private collection until 2013
In a frame of the artist's own design
Menpes first exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1880, and, over the
following 20 years, 35 of his paintings and etchings were shown at the
Menpes set off on a sketching tour of Brittany in 1880, during which he
met James McNeill Whistler. He became Whistler's pupil, and at one stage
shared a flat with him at Cheyne Walk on the Chelsea Embankment in
London. He was taught etching by Whistler, whose influence, together
with that of Japanese design, is evident in his later work. Menpes
became a major figure in the etching revival, producing more than seven
hundred different etchings and drypoints, which he usually printed
himself. As early as 1880, a selection of ten of his drypoint portraits,
donated to the British Museum by Charles A. Howell, brought him
A visit to Japan in 1887 led to his first one-man exhibition at
Dowdeswell's Gallery in London. Menpes moved into a property at 25
Cadogan Gardens, Sloane Square, designed for him by A. H. Mackmurdo in
1888 and decorated it in the Japanese style. Whistler and Menpes
quarreled in 1888 over the interior design of the house, which Whistler
felt was a brazen copying of his own ideas.
Menpes is particularly prized for his topographical paintings
of the Far East where he travelled extensively in the late 19th and
early 20th century. His book on China, published in in 1909, was a
collaboration with Sir Henry Arthur Blake, who served as Governor of
This is an unusually large work for a Menpes. A related print by Menpes was sold at Sotheby's (lot 123, 25.10.1995).
The following books were illustrated by Menpes
Menpes, Dorothy. Japan: a record in colour (A & C Black, 1901).
Menpes, Dorothy. The Durbar (London: A & C Black, 1903)
Menpes, Dorothy. World's Children (London: A & C Black, 1903).
Menpes, Dorothy. Venice (A & C Black, 1904).
Loti, Pierre. Madame Prune (A & C Black, 1905).
Menpes, Dorothy. Brittany (A & C Black, 1905).
Steel, Flora Annie. India (A & C Black, 1905).
Mitton, G. E. The Thames (A & C Black, 1906).
Blake, Sir H. A. China (A & C Black, 1909)
Menpes, Dorothy. Paris (A & C Black, 1909).
Finnemore, John. India (A & C Black, 1910).
Mitton, G. E. The people of India (A & C Black, 1910).
Blathwayt, R. Through life and round the world, being the story of my life (E.P. Dutton, 1917).
Finnemore, John. Home life in India (A & C Black, 1917)
Home, Gordon. France (A & C Black, 1918).
Written and illustrated by Menpes
War impressions, being a record in colour; (A & C Black, 1901).
Whistler as I knew him (A & C Black, 1904)
Rembrandt (A & C Black, 1905)
Henry Irving (A & C Black, 1906).
Gainsborough (A & C Black, 1909).
Lord Kitchener (A & C Black, 1915).
Lord Roberts (A & C Black, 1915).
We are grateful to Julie Robinson for her help.