A study of a butterfly
Pancrace Bessa was born in Paris in 1772. He was taught by Henri Redouté and the still-life painter Gerard van Spaendonck and specialized in depicting fruit, flowers and animals. From 1806 to 1831, he regularly exhibited at the Salon. In 1810 he published the first edition of the Herbier général de l’amateur, for which he remained the sole illustrator until 1827. He gave painting lessons to the duchess of Berry, who was daughter-in-law of king Charles X; she extended him her patronage as of 1816.
He published his Histoire des Tulipes in 1821; later on, the Histoire des Roses would follow. In 1823 he succeeded Redouté as the official painter of the Museum of Natural History. Bessa also worked on the French royal watercolour collection on vellum, the Velins du Roi, from 1823 until his death in 1846. His detailed and delicate treatment of his subjects can be appreciated in the present work, a study of a butterfly.
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