This beautiful little early 20th Century watercolour is simply charming.
It is very art nouveau in style and on stylistic grounds I am dating it to around the 1920s.
It is signed in monogram lower left, JH (sadly I have as yet been unable to identify the artist - but he is certainly most competent and of good professional standing). The monogram is rather like a Japanese seal and is similar to monograms used by artists in the early 20th century.
The style and theme are very similar to sought after pochoir prints by the French artist, George Barbier (1882 - 1932).
The watercolour is very delicate and painted with subtle pastel shades, with fine blue pen underdrawing.
The scene shows a masked ball taking place during the Venetian Carnival (Carnevale di Venezia) - an annual festival celebrating the end of Lent. The festival is famed for its elaborate masks.
In my pretty watercolour, you can see a masked ball taking place. To the right foreground is a couple dancing - the gentleman leans towards his partner with amorous intent. In the mid-distance are another couple - dressed in 18th-century court costume. Above is a mezzanine floor with more couples in colourful fancy dress - I love the little harlequin to the right-hand side. Above, in the gallery space and seated behind a balcony are the musicians.
The colours are lovely and fresh - and the watercolour is in good condition. There is a little repair to the left-hand edge on the mezzanine and another just to the feet of the lady in the foreground. Both are minor issues and only noticeable on close inspection.
The watercolour painting is beautifully presented for sale - with a nice cream coloured museum-quality window mount and a simple pale coloured wooden frame - with lighter wood shades to fit in with the delicacy of the picture. It is fresh to the market, clean and ready for you to just hang on your wall.
The image measures: 30.5 x 22.5 cm. The frame is 43 x 33 cm.
Hope that my images do this charming work justice - it was a wee bit tricky to photograph through the glass.
Oh! and if anyone recognizes the entwined JH monogram - I would love some feedback on it.