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Chinese school painting of four butterflies, circa 1820, dimensions including frame: 14 1/4in., x 12 3/4in. (36.3cm x 32.5cm). Provenance: from the collection of John Reeves and thence by descent. John Reeves, a tea merchant with the East India Company in China (1812-1831), was a keen amateur naturalist and collector. A correspondent with the Horticultural Society of London, he gathered specimens and drawings of exotic flora and fauna from across China. Part of his collection was presented to the British Museum's Natural History Department in 1877. The Natural History Museum's Chinese collection contains more than 2,000 scientifically important botanical and zoological paintings collected by John Reeves during his time in China.