[Compton, E. H.]
Cone shell [ Conus betulinus]. Original watercolour and pencil drawings.
Unpublished, ca. 1930. Single sheet (21.2 x 16.5 cm). Four views of the same cone-shell. Verso blank.
A fine rendering of a beech cone shell, Conus betulinus (L.), also known as a betuline cone, by the German artist of British descent, Edward Harrison Compton (1881-1960). Ever since Rembrandt, great artists have taken on the challenge of convincingly illustrating cone shells. This watercolour drawing shows that Compton succeeded in capturing the essentials of this shell of a tropical, carnivorous sea snail. Compton exhibited in galleries in Berlin, Munich, and at the Royal Academy in London (Bénézit). He also provided illustrations for several travel books. Although very well-known for his landscape paintings, he had a profound, longtime interest in natural history objects (e.g. insects and shells) which he drew in great detail. Paper a little wavy due to the application of the watercolour, otherwise fine. Bénézit 2, p. 599.